While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Aug 30 edition

US team finds common drug that may stop Zika spread

A common drug used to kill tapeworm prevented the Zika virus from replicating in lab experiments, scientists said Monday.

The medicine, Nicolsamide, was previously shown to be safe for pregnant women, which may boost its rapid deployment to treat Zika infection, they reported in the journal Nature Medicine.

"The findings should significantly advance current Zika virus research and have an immediate effect on the development of anti-Zika therapeutics," the team concluded.


White House says it sees a path to approval of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal

The White House said on Monday it could still win congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact before President Barack Obama leaves office, and warned that failing to do so would undermine US leadership in the region.

"The president is going to make a strong case that we have made progress and there is a path for us to get this done before the president leaves office," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a news briefing ahead of Obama's trip to Asia this week.

Obama has made the 12-nation free trade deal the centrepiece of a diplomatic "pivot" to Asia, but the prospects for congressional approval have looked increasingly dim, with both major presidential candidates - Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump - standing opposed.


Top Clinton aide Huma Abedin separates from husband Anthony Weiner after another sexting scandal

Huma Abedin, one of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's top aides, said on Monday that she was separating from her husband, Anthony Weiner, after a sexting scandal similar to an earlier incident that led him to resign from the US Congress.

"After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband,"Huma Abedin said in a statement.

"Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life. During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy," Abedin added.


Researchers in US find first bacteria with worrisome superbug genes

New Jersey researchers said on Monday they had identified perhaps the first strain of E Coli bacteria in the United States with mobile genes that make it resistant to two types of antibiotics now considered last-line defences against superbugs.

Researchers said the strain of bacteria was found in a 76-year-old man who was treated in 2014 for a complicated urinary tract infection. Further analysis in 2016 showed the bacterium carried mcr-1, a gene that creates resistance to the last-ditch antibiotic colistin.

It was also shown to carry blaNDM-5, a gene that blocks effectiveness of carbapenems, which are considered medicine's most reliable current antibiotics now that bacteria have found ways of outwitting other families of antibiotics.


Willy Wonka star Gene Wilder dies at age 83 

Gene Wilder, the titular character in the 1971 classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, has died at age 83 after complications from Alzheimer's disease, according to reports.

Wilder rose to fame as the star of such Mel Brooks comedy classics as Blazing Saddles, The Producers and Young Frankenstein.

Wilder's nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said on Monday that he had died late Sunday in Stamford, Connecticut, according to Variety magazine.