Healthcare & Lifesciences Talking Points | 01/12/2016


In today’s talking points: December 1, 2016 World AIDS day; Aussie scientists launch world-first blindness test for diabetics; China to use less antibacterial drugs; Reports of bird flu outbreak in Ukraine and Egypt

December 1, 2016 World AIDS day

Today marks the annual opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held for the first time in 1988.

In the run up to this day, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has appointed the celebrated actor Huang Xiaoming as a UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador for China. The announcement was made at an event at the UNAIDS office in Beijing on Monday.

Since Huang Xiaoming is an inspiration for millions of people Catherine Sozi, UNAIDS Country Director for China said that she was “thrilled that he will leverage his amazing platform as a gifted actor, entrepreneur and philanthropist to help end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”

In his new role, Huang will raise awareness on the importance of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, with a special emphasis on HIV prevention among young people. According to UNAIDS, there were 654,000 people living with HIV in China by end of September 2016, and statistics indicate that young people are particularly vulnerable to HIV.

Read more at: China Daily

Aussie scientists launch world-first blindness test for diabetics

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) developed a world-first trial to detect potential blindness in diabetics. The new technology will allow diabetics to have their eyes tested by a regular family doctor, which will make no longer necessary to visit eye specialists. Leader of the first trial in Perth, Yogi Kanagasingam, said that one in three cases of diabetics suffer from diabetic retinopathy (DR), which often leads to blindness. The discovered technology used by General Practioners (GP) will help to identify this condition at an early stage. “Vision loss or blindness caused by the condition can often be prevented through early detection and timely treatment,” added Kanagasingam. “This project will provide a breakthrough in the early detection and diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy in primary care, further breaking down the barriers in specialist access to services in the community,” Amitha Preetham, director of the GP Superclinic, said.

Read more at: Xinhua

China to use less antibacterial drugs

The last five years has seen a decrease in the utilisation of antibacterial drugs, according to a health report. In 2010, the use of antibacterial drugs was at a huge 67.3 percent for inpatients, dropping to a much lower 39.1 percent in 2015. A similar drop was recorded for outpatients which fell 10 percent from in a similar timeframe. Similar reductions were reported for pharmaceutical revenue. The report was based on research in general and special hospitals. China has 12 training centres for microbial drug-resistant bacteria. Over use of antibiotics will give rise to new, hardy strains of bacteria.

Read more at: Xinhua news

Reports of bird flu outbreak in Ukraine and Egypt

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), there has been a recent outbreak of a highly contagious bird flu virus among backyard birds in the southern part of Ukraine and samples taken from the dead birds tested positive for the presence of the highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza.

It was not clear whether it was the H5N8 virus which has been found among wild birds and farms across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, however Egypt has reported an outbreak of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus in two wild birds in the northern part of the country.

Read more at: SMH