Early in 2021 the United Kingdom, along with several other countries, allowed mass gatherings as part of a series of controlled studies aimed at better understanding the role events could play in the pandemic. The goal was to inform policy - however early results have provided limited data on viral transmission.  As the Olympic games kick off in Tokyo, we delve into the research, asking what the limitations have been, if more data will become available and whether policy makers are likely...
Published 07/24/21
Funding for gun violence research in the US returns after a 20-year federal hiatus, and the glass sponges that can manipulate ocean currents.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 07/21/21
The UK government has announced that virtually all COVID restrictions will be removed in England on Monday 18th July. This will do away with social distancing requirements, allow businesses to re-open to full capacity and remove legal mask mandates. This decision comes, however, amidst soaring infections rates in the country, driven by the delta variant. Now scientists are questioning the wisdom of this policy and asking whether the combination of high transmission and a partially...
Published 07/16/21
Heat waves have disproportionate impacts on minorities in US cities, and after critiquing his own papers a researcher extols the value of self-criticism.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 07/14/21
For much of the pandemic, the greatest burden of disease has been felt by older generations. But now, for the first time, vaccine roll outs are starting to skew the average age of those infections towards the young. This has led many researchers to ask what this might mean for the future of the pandemic. In this episode of Coronapod we discuss what we know and what we don't know about this change in the demographic profile of COVID infections. We ask how this might impact global vaccination...
Published 07/09/21
Addressing the problem of sudden food scarcity in US cities, and the up-and-coming field of computational social science.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 07/07/21
Since the beginning oft he pandemic, researchers have searched for a biomarker which indicates immune protection from COVID-19 known as a correlate of protection. Now, the team developing the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have published the first results of their so-called 'breakthrough study' which indicated puts forwards thresholds of neutralising antibodies that they suggest correlate with protection. The hope is that, should these results be confirmed, such biomarkers could speed up...
Published 07/02/21
A historian reflects on the life of Chinese crop scientist Yuan Longping, and the possible influence of geothermal energy production on earthquake aftershocks.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 06/30/21
This is an audio version of our feature: How COVID broke the evidence pipeline   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 06/28/21
Early vaccine trials did not include pregnant or breastfeeding people which left some people asking whether COVID vaccines are safe and effective for those who are breastfeeding. The latest data suggests that they are and in this episode of Coronapod we dig into the questions scientists have been asking. Could the vaccine make it into breastmilk? Can COVID antibodies be transferred to a breastfeeding child? And if so, how? News Feature: COVID vaccines and breastfeeding: what the data...
Published 06/25/21
Researchers isolate the protein thought to allow birds to sense magnetic fields, and astronomers pinpoint the stars that could view Earth as an exoplanet.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 06/23/21
After a slew of wildly successful vaccine trials, this week marked a more underwhelming result. The third mRNA vaccine to complete phase three trials, developed by CureVac, is just 47% effective at staving off disease according to preliminary data. This is a stark contrast with previous mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer BioNtec which returned around twice that efficacy in their trials. In this episode of Coronapod, we ask why the CureVac vaccine has faltered, and what this might mean for...
Published 06/18/21
The pros and pitfalls of collaboration, with insights from researchers and beyond.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 06/16/21
The global burden of COVID-19 has predominantly been measured using metrics like case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths. But the long term health impacts are more difficult to capture. In this episode of Coronapod we discuss one way that public health experts are trying to get to grips with the problem using metrics such as disability adjusted life years (DALYs) and quality adjusted life years (QALYs). As new data suggests that COVID could leave millions with lasting disability or...
Published 06/11/21
An AI that designs computer chips in hours, and zooming in on DNA’s complex 3D structures. In this episode: 00:46 An AI computer microchip designer Working out where to place the billions of components that a modern computer chip needs can take human designers months and, despite decades of research, has defied automation. This week, however, a team from Google report a new machine learning algorithm that does the job in a fraction of the time, and is already helping design their next...
Published 06/09/21
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been allegations that SARS-CoV-2 could have originated in a Chinese lab. A phase one WHO investigation concluded that a 'lab-leak' was "extremely unlikely" and yet, the theory has seen a resurgence in recent weeks with several scientists wading into the debate. In this episode of Coronapod, we delve into what scientists have been saying and ask how and why the 'lab-leak' hypothesis has gained so much traction. We ask if the way we communicate...
Published 06/04/21
The cross-discipline effort to work our how ancient humans learned to count.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 06/02/21
A vaccine candidate for a neglected tropical disease, and calls to extend the 14-day limit on embryo research.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 05/26/21
Pervasive plastic specks are of great concern to scientists – but are they really harmful?   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 05/24/21
Smouldering fires lay dormant before bursting back into flame in spring. 07:39 Research Highlights Aesthetic bias means pretty plants receive the most research attention, and ancient tooth gunk reveals the evolution of the mouth microbiome. Research Highlight: Flashy plants draw outsize share of scientists’ attention Research Highlight: Microbes in Neanderthals’ mouths reveal their carb-laden diet 10:04 Briefing Chat We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time,...
Published 05/19/21
Over the past few weeks, India has been experiencing a devastating second wave of COVID-19, recording hundreds of thousands of new cases a day. Evidence is growing that a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus known as B.1.617, first detected in India in October, may be driving this wave. On this week’s Coronapod we talk about the race to learn more about B.1.617, with early results suggesting it may be more transmissible and could cause more severe disease. News: Coronavirus variants are...
Published 05/14/21
A new neural interface lets people type with their mind, and a crafting journey into materials science.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 05/12/21
In surprise news this week, the US government announced its support for waiving patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines, in an effort to boost supplies around the world.As fewer than 1% of people living in low-income countries have received COVID-19 vaccines, it is hoped that this move is a major step towards addressing this inequity by allowing manufacturers to legally produce generic versions of vaccines. We discuss the next steps that need to be taken to make this a reality, and why there...
Published 05/07/21
Uncovering the earliest evidence of deliberate human burial in Africa, and a metal-free rechargeable battery.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 05/05/21
For more than a century, public health researchers have demonstrated how poverty and discrimination drive disease and the coronavirus pandemic has only reinforced this. In a Coronapod special, Nature reporter Amy Maxmen takes us with her through eight months of reporting in the San Joaquin valley, a part of rural California where COVID's unequal toll has proven deadly. News: Inequality's deadly toll This piece was supported by grants from the Pulitzer Center and the MIT Knight Science...
Published 04/30/21