Tag Archives: Coronavirus insights

Dog coronavirus found in humans – why you shouldn’t worry

‘ Relax, humans! I’m not going to start the next pandemic. Firn/Shutterstock Sarah L Caddy, University of Cambridge Scientists have found a new canine coronavirus in a handful of people hospitalised with pneumonia. This may sound alarming, but once we unpack it, you will see that there’s no reason to lose any sleep. The discovery of the canine coronavirus in …

Read More »

Coronavirus: so many variants, but vaccines are still effective

Luke O’Neill, Trinity College Dublin Viruses are constantly changing. This is because errors sometimes occur when they copy their genetic material. Some errors have no effect at all. Some might make the virus less viable. Some make it more benign, which means it can survive but doesn’t cause disease. The errors to watch for are those that might make the …

Read More »

Immune response might be more about signalling to others that you need help and less about protecting your body

Rido/Shutterstock Jonathan R Goodman, University of Cambridge A major debate during the pandemic, and in infectious disease research more broadly, is why infected people die. No virus “wants” to kill anyone, as an epidemiologist once said to me. Like any other form of life, a virus’s goal is only to survive and reproduce. A growing body of evidence instead suggests …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »