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Vulnerable Asia Fears Zika Outbreak

Densely packed slums, rampant mosquitoes and a history of rapidly spreading infections make Asia particularly vulnerable to the devastating Zika virus, posing a massive challenge for the region, health experts warn.

Thailand confirmed Tuesday that a man contracted the mosquito-borne infection, blamed for a surge in the number of brain-damaged babies in South America, while Indonesia has also reported a domestic case.

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Fearing Global pread WHO Creates Zika Response Unit

The World Health Organization said Tuesday it had created a global unit to respond to the Zika virus, voicing fears the disease blamed for a surge in birth defects in South America could spread across Africa and Asia. 

"We have now set up a global response unit, which brings together all people across WHO in headquarters, in the regions, to deal with the formal response" to Zika, said WHO expert Anthony Costello.

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France's Sanofi Launches Zika Virus Vaccine Research

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi announced Tuesday that it had begun research and development into a vaccine against the mosquito-borne Zika virus, blamed for causing a surge in brain-damaged babies.

The company said the success of its Sanofi Pasteur vaccines division in developing a vaccine against dengue fever could be "rapidly leveraged" in the fight against Zika.

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Korean Air Loss Widens on Impact of MERS Outbreak

A major MERS outbreak in South Korea that scared off tourists dealt a blow to flag carrier Korean Air, whose net loss widened by 54 percent last year according to figures Tuesday. 

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome infected 186 people and killed 36 of them in the South -- the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia where the virus originated.

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White House Wants $1 Billion to Fund Cancer 'Moonshot'

The White House said Monday it wants $1 billion to "jump-start" a new task force to end cancer, known as the Moonshot initiative headed by Vice President Joe Biden.

Already $195 million has been allocated to the National Institutes of Health so that work on new cancer research can begin immediately, a senior administration official told reporters.

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WHO Declares Global Health Emergency over Zika Situation

The World Health Organization on Monday declared that a surge in serious birth defects in South America was "strongly suspected" of being caused by the Zika virus and constituted an international health emergency.

"We need to take action," WHO chief Margaret Chan told reporters in Geneva.

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Poland's Rapper MP Unveils Bill on Medical Marijuana

A Polish rapper-turned-politician on Monday presented a draft bill on legalizing medical marijuana in an EU nation where two-thirds of people back the idea. 

"This draft crowns everything I've said over the years, especially during the election campaign," said MP Piotr Liroy-Marzec, better known by his stage name Liroy, who pioneered Poland's rap scene in the 1990s.

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Report: Youngest Ever Conjoined Twins Separated in Switzerland

Swiss doctors have separated eight-day-old conjoined twin sisters fused at the liver and chest -- the youngest ever successfully separated, a Swiss paper reported Sunday.

Five surgeons, assisted by two nurses and six anesthesiologists, carried out the successful, five-hour operation last month to separate the tiny identical twins, the Le Matin Dimanche weekly reported.

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Researchers Say Zika Case Found in Indonesia

An Indonesian research institute said Sunday it had found one positive Zika case on Sumatra island, adding that the virus has been circulating in the country "for a while."

Indonesia's health ministry could not immediately comment on the report by the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology.

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Into Zika's Heart: The Ugandan Forest where Virus Was Found

Down winding paths through dense jungles, Gerald Mukisa kicks up the dry leaves noisily with his feet to provide warning sounds, noting that the late afternoon heat is "snake time".

The forest is calm. Only the sound of insects, birdsong and the rustle of monkeys in the jungle canopy above disturb the air.

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