Health Highlights: May 17, 2016
Scientists Clone Zika Virus No Need to Move or Delay Rio Games Due to Zika: WHO Chief Woman Dies After 'Brazilian Butt Lift' Procedure in Florida Clinic
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Scientists Clone Zika Virus
Scientists who cloned the Zika virus for the first time say their achievement could speed efforts to create a vaccine against the mosquito-borne virus that can cause serious birth defects and neurological problems.
The team at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston developed a way to genetically engineer Zika, meaning it can now be made in the laboratory, CNN reported.
This will enable scientists to study and adapt the virus to develop a vaccine and to test experimental vaccines, according to study lead author Pei-Yong Shi.
"What we've created is something that is reproducible, meaning that batches of this virus can be made in large quantities," he told CNN.
If the virus can be adapted to make a safe and effective vaccine, tests on animals could begin soon and clinical trials on people could start as early as next year, according to Shi.
"But of course this will depend on whether we see serious side effects. We don't even know yet what the full impact of Zika is, besides microcephaly and some other neurological diseases," he told CNN.
No Need to Move or Delay Rio Games Due to Zika: WHO Chief
The Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro should not be postponed or canceled over concerns about the Zika virus, World Health Organization chief Dr. Margaret Chan said Tuesday.
However, she said the WHO is increasingly concerned about Zika and reiterated the agency's advice that pregnant women should not travel to Brazil, which has the highest number of Zika cases, the Associated Press reported.
The virus has been shown to cause severe birth defects and neurological problems, and some experts have called for the Olympics to be moved or delayed.
Olympic athletes and travelers to Rio should take measures to protect themselves from the mosquitoes that spread Zika, Chan said in a briefing in Geneva, Switzerland. The Olympic Games are expected to attract about 500,000 people to Brazil.
Despite the Zika outbreak, there is no reason why the games should be moved, according to Chan.
"You don't want to bring a standstill to the world's movement of people," she said, the AP reported. "This is all about risk assessment and risk management."
Chan said she plans to attend the games.
Woman Dies After 'Brazilian Butt Lift' Procedure in Florida Clinic
A 29-year-old West Virginia woman died from fat clots in her heart and lungs after undergoing what is known as a "Brazilian Butt Lift" at a Florida clinic.
Heather Meadows suffered medical complications at the Encore Plastic Surgery clinic in Hialeah on May 12 and was rushed to Palm Springs General Hospital, CBS News reported.
Arteries in her lungs and heart were clogged by fat particles, causing the organs to fail, according to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner.
The fat particles likely entered her bloodstream during a fat transfer procedure called the Brazilian Butt Lift, in which fat is removed from the torso and then injected into the buttocks, CBS News reported.
Previously, the Florida Department of Health charged two doctors who worked at Encore Plastic Surgery and two affiliated clinics with medical malpractice and employing unlicensed professionals.
It's not known if those two doctors performed the procedure on Meadows, CBS News reported.