Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Novartis Flu Vaccines Banned in Six Countries
A temporary ban on the import or use of Novartis' Fluad and/or
Aggripal flu vaccines has been imposed by six European countries
after the company reported small particles in the vaccines to
Other flu vaccines are available in Austria, France, Germany,
Italy, Spain and Switzerland, but there could be supply problems in
some regions, the
Switzerland-based Novartis knew about the problem with its
vaccines since July but only notified Italian authorities this
month. Company spokesman Eric Althoff would not say how long
Novartis waited before telling health officials.
In an email, he said that "once the deviation was seen, an
investigation was started and the findings were shared with the
Italian Ministry of Health," the
New National Health Insurance Plans Soon Available to U.S.
Consumers in every state will soon have access to at least two
nationwide health insurance plans operated under contract with the
Supporters say the plans, which are part of the health care
reform law, will boost competition in state health insurance
markets, many of which are dominated by just a few companies,
The New York Timesreported.
The national plans will compete directly with other private
insurers. The premiums and benefits will be negotiated by the U.S.
Office of Personnel Management, the agency that organizes health
benefits for federal government workers.
The new plans will be offered to individuals and small employers
through insurance exchanges being established in every state under
the health care law. The Obama administration estimates that each
national plan will have 750,000 people enrolled in the first year,
Cheap Test Detects HIV, Other Diseases: U.K. Researchers
Researchers who developed a cheap test that can detect even low
levels of viruses and some cancers say the test could lead to more
widespread testing for HIV and other disease in poorer parts of the
The test uses a liquid that changes color to indicate either a
positive (blue) or negative (red) result,
The team at Imperial College London in the U.K. said the test
can be configured to detect a unique marker of a disease or virus,
such as a protein found on the surface of HIV.
The test, described in the journal
Nature Nanotechnology, is in the prototype stage and
requires further testing,