Washington Post — Could chemicals — rather than the Zika virus — be to blame for birth defects in Brazil?
While the rest of the world is focused on hunting down mosquitoes with Zika, a group of doctors and researchers in Argentina has published a report making the provocative argument that a pesticide, rather than the virus, is to blame for the alarming number of birth defects being reported in Brazil. The University Network of Environment and Health wrote that pyriproxyfen, which is added to drinking water to stop the development of mosquito larvae, may be causing something in the fetal development process to go awry when ingested by pregnant women and may be leading to the babies being born with microcephaly — a condition defined by abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains.

Reuters — WHO issues $56 million plan to combat Zika virus
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that $56 million were needed to combat the Zika virus until June, including for the fast-tracking of vaccines, diagnostics and research studies into how it spreads. The funds, including $25 million for the WHO and its regional office, would also be used to control the mosquito-borne virus that has spread to 39 countries, including 34 in the Americas, and has been linked to birth defects in Brazil.

Wall Street Journal — Why the ‘moon shot’ to cure cancer might work
Widespread praise for Vice President Joseph Biden’s “Moon Shot to Cure Cancer“ is another positive development in a year that could prove transformative for biomedical research – and the nation. In December, biomedical research regained the broad, bipartisan Congressional support it enjoyed 13 years ago when both parties celebrated a five-year doubling of the annual budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – the world’s largest medical research funding agency. The years before had been tough ones. NIH’s inflation-adjusted budget declined by more than 20% between 2003 and 2014.

CNN — Your Starbucks drink may have 25 spoons of sugar in it
Flavored drinks served by the likes of Starbucks (SBUX) can contain up to 25 teaspoons of sugar per serving, according to a new report by a British campaign group Action on Sugar. That’s three times the amount of sugar in one can of coke, and more than three times the maximum adult daily intake recommended by the American Heart Association. The report said that 98% of hot flavored drinks sold at major coffee chains in the U.K. have excessive levels of sugars per serving, with 35% containing nine or more teaspoons of sugar — the same amount as a can of Coca Cola.