Newly Found Virus May

Infect Many Children

Swedish researchers said yesterday they have identified a previously unknown virus that may cause many cases of serious respiratory infections in children.

They named it human bocavirus and urged that researchers start a systematic search for all viruses that cause respiratory infections.

The report, published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, underlines how little doctors know about the sources of most respiratory infections.

A separate team of California researchers found they could identify about 40 percent of viruses infecting patients, and both teams said rapid testing for viruses would be useful in diagnosing and treating respiratory illnesses.

In their sample of 540 children in a pediatric hospital ward, bocavirus was responsible for 17 of the cases, the Swedish researchers found.

Protein Levels Linked

To Ovarian Cancer

The levels of two proteins in the body could predict survival of ovarian cancer patients, a study showed. Other research suggested more women's lives might be saved by using existing tests to diagnose certain persistent symptoms.

Scientists at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston said that low levels of both atypical protein kinase C iota and Cyclin E corresponded to a better chance of long-term survival. Today's Cancer Journal published a separate study that showed doctors should consider specific tests for ovarian cancer when patients complain of unexplained or long-term symptoms such as abdominal and pelvic pain.

Ovarian cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in U.S. women.

Poor Countries Likely

To Miss Health Goals

Most poor countries will miss global targets to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and reverse the toll of AIDS and other diseases by 2015, the World Health Organization warned.

None of the poorest regions of the developing world is on track to meet the target of reducing by two-thirds the rate of child mortality -- now around 11 million deaths each year -- in the next decade, according to the United Nations agency.

Health is at the heart of the U.N. Millennium Declaration, which was adopted by 189 heads of state in September 2000 and set out a road map of eight goals to be reached by 2015. Using 1990 data as baselines, they aim to reduce poverty and hunger, tackle gaps in health services and education, and boost access to clean water.

On the positive side, more poor women delivering babies have a skilled medical person helping them. The use of insecticide-treated bed nets against mosquito-borne malaria, which kills at least 1 million people a year, has also risen.

-- From News Services