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Morning Rounds Megan Thielking

'CRISPR babies' scientist acted on his own, investigation finds

Investigators in China have concluded that He Jiankui — the scientist who reportedly edited the genes of embryos that resulted in the world’s first “CRISPR babies” — acted on his own and forged an ethical review paper, according to China's Xinhua News Agency. “This behavior seriously violates ethics and the integrity of scientific research, is in serious violation of relevant national regulations and creates a pernicious influence at home and abroad,” the report said. The investigators said He will be punished for any violations of laws or regulations. Another woman is reportedly pregnant with a fetus that resulted from He's experiment. Government officials will keep tabs on the babies' health.  

Top names in health and medicine meet in Davos

Some of the biggest names in science and medicine are in the Swiss ski resort town of Davos this week to rub elbows with world leaders and one-percenters — and talk about the future of health care — at the World Economic Forum. The annual meeting, which starts today, draws in health, medicine, and biopharma leaders from across the globe. Not in attendance this year: Top officials from the Trump administration. NIH Director Francis Collins — who helped plan the scientific sessions and was slated to take part in several panels — is one of several officials no longer attending due to the government shutdown.

New report details health of refugees and migrants

The WHO just released its first-ever report on the health of migrants and refugees in Europe, who account for roughly 10 percent of the continent's population. Here’s a look at the findings:

  • Refugees and migrants are at a lower risk for almost all forms of cancer than the populations in the countries where they reside — but their cancer is more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage.

  • A handful of factors — including a lack of access to health care and poor living conditions — put refugees and migrants at a potentially higher risk of infectious diseases. The report also found that, despite assumptions otherwise, there's a very low risk of of refugees and migrants transmitting diseases to other people in the countries where they live.

  • Unaccompanied refugee and migrant minors experience higher rates of depression and signs of PTSD. They're also at risk of sexual exploitation.

Inside STAT: Ebola vaccine supplies expected to last


Nurses working with the WHO prepare to administer vaccines in Mbandaka in DRC. (UNIOR D. KANNAH/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Good news in the Ebola response effort: The WHO now predicts there’s enough doses of an experimental vaccine to control the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “I believe we will have enough vaccine to stop this outbreak unless something very dramatic changes,” says Dr. Peter Salama, WHO’s deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response. The vaccine is still being tested in a clinical trial, but early evidence suggests it’s working. Salama said the data the WHO has gathered in North Kivu — where more than 60,000 doses have been administered — point to the vaccine being “highly, highly efficacious.” STAT’s Helen Branswell the story here.

HHS highlights work 'protecting human life,' 46 years after Roe v. Wade

Today marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. Ahead of the anniversary, HHS highlighted the Trump administration's "accomplishments in protecting human life." That includes proposed changes to the Title X family planning program that would prevent federal grants from going to facilities where abortion is also provided. HHS said it's looking forward to issuing the final version of that rule "promptly." On Friday, the agency's Office of Civil Rights also announced that California violated federal law when it passed legislation requiring so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” to post information about access to abortion and family planning services. The Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional last year.

Measles outbreak in Washington declared public health emergency

Health officials in Washington state are grappling with a measles outbreak that has sickened at least 21 people, 20 of whom are children. Clark County health officials have declared the outbreak a public health emergency. At least 18 of the people infected with measles hadn't been immunized, according to health officials, who also said they’ve pinpointed several suspected cases. There's concern that measles could continue to spread: People who were contagious traveled to schools, restaurants, the Portland International Airport, and a Portland Trail Blazers game, county officials said.

What to read around the web today

  • Mass overdose highlights severe new phase of opioid epidemic. San Francisco Chronicle
  • Celgene, sold for $74 billion, leaves a legacy of chutzpah in science and drug pricing. STAT
  • I needed a hysterectomy at age 31. Doctors fought me every step of the way. Huffington Post
  • Aid volunteers found guilty of dropping off water, food for migrants in protected part of Arizona desert. Arizona Republic
  • Anatomy of surprise: Scientists discover hidden blood networks that cross through bone. STAT

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,


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Tuesday, January 22, 2019


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