Health & Medicine

Vaccine passports: why they are good for society

Prostock-studio/Shutterstock Barbara Jacquelyn Sahakian, University of Cambridge; Christelle Langley, University of Cambridge, and Julian Savulescu, University of Oxford As more and more people get vaccinated, some governments are relying on “vaccine passports” as a way of reopening society. These passports are essentially certificates that show the holder has been immunised against COVID-19, which restaurants, pubs, bars, sports venues and others …

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Why India’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is faltering – podcast

Daniel Merino, The Conversation and Gemma Ware, The Conversation In this episode of The Conversation Weekly podcast, as India’s COVID-19 crisis continues, we look at what’s holding back the country’s vaccination rollout and how a shift in strategy on distribution and pricing is causing concern. And we speak to a researcher who went hunting for fungi in the world’s largest …

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Coronavirus variant B16172: could it block the UK’s path out of lockdown?

Deborah Dunn-Walters, University of Surrey A few weeks of relief from isolation, huddling in your big coats outside chatting to a few friends in the evening after work, beginning to feel optimistic about the roadmap out of lockdown, and then another curveball comes in. This time in the form of the coronavirus variant called B1617 – which was first identified …

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I went from regular TV commentator on COVID to long COVID sufferer in just a few months

Nathalie MacDermott, Author provided Nathalie MacDermott, King’s College London I first heard about the novel coronavirus on New Year’s Eve, 2019 – although the virus was yet to be identified. ProMed, an organisation that sends alerts on disease outbreaks worldwide, sent an urgent request for information about four patients in Wuhan, China, who were being treated for “pneumonia of unknown …

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Cuba’s race to make its own coronavirus vaccine – podcast

Daniel Merino, The Conversation and Gemma Ware, The Conversation In this episode of The Conversation Weekly podcast, how Cuba is pushing ahead with developing its own coronavirus vaccines – and could be nearing “vaccine sovereignty”. And we hear from a researcher about what he learned from asking hundreds of people about the biggest decisions of their lives. Throughout 2020, the …

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Can scientists predict all of the ways the coronavirus will evolve?

Ed Feil, University of Bath Late last year, three distinct and fast-spreading coronavirus variants were observed in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. More recently, variants in India, the US and elsewhere are causing alarm. Does the emergence of these variants portend a protracted battle with the pandemic, or will the virus soon run out of evolutionary room to manoeuvre …

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Herd immunity: can the UK get there?

Adam Kleczkowski, University of Strathclyde Now that Britain and the US are crossing the 50% threshold of their populations vaccinated with the first dose, are they reaching herd immunity and can things return to normal soon? Not yet, is the short answer. And focusing on a single number is not helpful. It might encourage behaviour that would lead to another …

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Huge drop in men’s sperm levels confirmed by new study – here are the facts

vchal/Shutterstock Chris Barratt, University of Dundee Sperm count in men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand declined by 50-60% between 1973 and 2011, according to a new study from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Surprisingly, the study, which analysed data on the sperm counts of 42,935 men, found no decline in sperm counts in men from Asia, Africa …

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High-filtration masks only work when they fit – so we created a new way to test if they do

US 2015/Shutterstock Eugenia O’Kelly, University of Cambridge During the pandemic, the prevailing thought has been that a high-filtration mask – such as an N95, KN95 or FFP3 – should offer better protection than a surgical or fabric mask. However, recent research I conducted with colleagues at the University of Cambridge suggests this isn’t necessarily the case. For these masks to …

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