When Ebola broke out in West Africa in December 2013, triggering the largest-ever epidemic of the disease, there was no vaccine or drug that had been shown to be safe and effective in people. Just 20 months later, a vaccine seems to confer total protection against infection, according to the preliminary results of a trial in Guinea.

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The secrecy that has long surrounded drug-industry trials is crumbling. Scientists are applauding drug giant Glaxo­SmithKline (GSK) for its announcement last week that it will make the trove of detailed raw data underlying its clinical trials systematically available to researchers. And GSK’s move — the first such commitment for a big player in the industry — is just the beginning. Starting next year, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) intends to open up access to all new clinical-trial data sets it receives from industry for product registration.

The storm of scientific criticism over claims that a genetically modified (GM) maize causes severe disease in rats shows no signs of abating. Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen, France, is under intense pressure to report the full data behind his team’s finding that rats fed for two years with Monsanto’s glyphosate-resistant NK603 maize (corn) developed many more tumours and died earlier than controls (see Nature 489, 484; 2012).

Europe has never been particularly fond of genetically modified (GM) foods, but a startling research paper looks set to harden public and political opposition even further, despite a torrent of scepticism from scientists about the work. The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, looked for adverse health effects in rats fed NK603 maize (corn), developed by biotech company Monsanto to resist the herbicide glyphosate and approved for animal and human consumption
in the European Union, United States and other countries.

Panel set to reshape evaluation of Millennium Villages research after partial retraction of health claims.

Experts question early release of incomplete trial data.

A year after cholera broke out in the aftermath of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake, the epidemic has disappeared from the headlines, but it continues to wreak a deadly toll. Mortality rates remain high in some areas, but donor funding for front-line response teams is drying up, even as a newly approved vaccine offers a glimmer of hope.

A draconian new law aims to toughen France's relaxed approach to conflicts of interest for scientists who advise the government on pharmaceuticals.

Every year, more than one million children under the age of five die as a result of diarrhoea. It is the second-biggest killer in this age group, after pneumonia, and 40% of diarrhoea deaths are caused by rotavirus. That horrific toll could soon fall, thanks to the first major roll-out of rotavirus vaccines in Africa, where half of rotavirus deaths occur. The programme was unveiled this week by the GAVI Alliance — formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation — based in Geneva, Switzerland.

When heads of state and health ministers gather in New York next week for the first United Nations (UN) high-level summit on non-communicable disease (NCD), they will be presented with some jaw-dropping statistics. According to UN reports released before the meeting, NCDs such as cardiovascular disease and cancer killed 36 million people in 2008, accounting for 63% of all deaths.