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Cannabis oil, coronavirus and the cabinet reshuffle – this week’s Friday Five

Could there be a vaccine for cancer?

A study published in the Nature Communications journal has revealed that supercharging the mutation rate in cancer cells could create a “powerful vaccine” that is able to boost the effectiveness of immunotherapy.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, US, and the University of Leeds, used a molecule called APOBEC3B to force cancer cells in the lab to evolve much more rapidly.

The highly mutated cancer cells could be used to create a vaccine for each individual cancer type, which amplified the effects of immunotherapy.

Read more in the PharmaTimes.

Coronavirus – an imminent risk to the UK

Public Health England official, Prof Paul Cosford, has warned that more cases of coronavirus in the UK is ‘highly likely’. He stresses that the biggest risk to the UK is China’s efforts in their mainland, and that if they do not succeed, other countries could suffer major outbreaks.

1,750 people have been tested for coronavirus in the UK so far, with 8 receiving a positive diagnosis. In order to prevent further widespread infection, quick identification and tracing of close contacts to initiate isolation, will be the ultimate aim.

Read more in BBC News.

FSA belatedly takes a strong stance on CBD

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said that all oils, snacks and drinks containing cannabis extract cannabidiol (CBD) would be taken off the shelves in March 2021 if they do not gain regulatory approval.

Despite rising sales of CBD goods, not a single product has been approved in the UK yet. This has raised safety concerns and the FSA has also issued new advice, saying CBD should not be used alongside other medication.

Read more on BBC News.

Hancock survives cabinet re-shuffle

Matt Hancock has kept hold of his role as Secretary of State for a second time following the general election in December last year.

He is among the lucky, as some of his fellow colleagues, including Sajid Javid and Esther McVey lost their government positions.



Quote of the week

The British Health Alliance has warned that Brexit could leave the UK exposed to global outbreaks. Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation and BHA co-chair said:

 “Infectious diseases do not respect borders and we need to tackle them together. It is in all our interests to maintain these vital links between the UK and the EU not least because working together we are more likely to trace and tackle serious outbreaks effectively.”

Read more in The Guardian.

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