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Science Weekly podcast

Science Weekly

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Science Weekly podcast will now explore some of the crucial scientific questions about Covid-19. Led by its usual hosts  Ian Sample,  Hannah Devlin and  Nicola Davis, as well as the Guardian's health editor Sarah Boseley, we’ll be taking questions – some sent by you – to experts on the frontline of the global outbreak. Send us your questions here:  theguardian.com/covid19questions

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Science Weekly podcast will now explore some of the crucial scientific questions about Covid-19. Led by its usual hosts  Ian Sample,  Hannah Devlin and  Nicola Davis, as well as the Guardian's health editor Sarah Boseley, we’ll be taking questions – some sent by you – to experts on the frontline of the global outbreak. Send us your questions here:  theguardian.com/covid19questions

 

#296

Covid-19: how 43,000 false negative tests were uncovered as wrong

Last week, testing at a private Covid lab in Wolverhampton was halted, after the UK Health Security Agency found tens of thousands of people may have been falsely given a negative PCR result. But since the start of September, scientists had been alerted to strange patterns in the testing data which suggested something was out of the ordinary. Anand Jagatia speaks to Dr Kit Yates, a mathematical biologist, about why it took so long for these errors to be traced back to the lab, and what the consequences could be. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

19 Oct 2021

12 MINS

12:16

19 Oct 2021


#295

The world finally has a malaria vaccine. Why has it taken so long?

Last week the World Health Organization approved the world’s first malaria vaccine. It’s been hailed as a historic breakthrough that could save tens of thousands of lives each year. But researchers have been trying to create one for more than a century – so why has it taken so long? Anand Jagatia speaks to Dr Latif Ndeketa and Prof Chris Drakeley about how the new RTS,S vaccine works and why it’s been so difficult to produce. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

14 Oct 2021

12 MINS

12:57

14 Oct 2021


#294

Is gene editing the future of food?

The world’s harvests are coming under increasing pressure from extreme weather events, disease and deteriorating soil health – problems that are set to get worse in the next few decades. Could one solution be to genetically edit our food to make it more resilient? With the UK’s recent announcement that it will ease the rules for growing gene-edited crops in England, Madeleine Finlay investigates what it will mean for scientists researching the technology, and why it could become a critical tool for the future of our food. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

12 Oct 2021

13 MINS

13:52

12 Oct 2021


#293

Covid-19: will there soon be a pill that stops us getting sick?

Last week the pharmaceutical company Merck released promising early data on a pill for Covid-19, which trials suggest halves hospitalisations and deaths. So what do we know about this experimental treatment? Madeleine Finlay talks to the Guardian’s science correspondent Hannah Devlin about whether this antiviral could be a gamechanger. And as some UK experts warn ‘ there isn’t much A&amp;E capacity left’, we also hear from Prof Peter Horby on the importance of drugs in the fight against Covid-19. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

07 Oct 2021

11 MINS

11:08

07 Oct 2021


#292

Could machines sucking carbon out of the air help fight the climate crisis?

Meeting the Paris agreement’s goal of keeping global temperature rises to below 2C by the end of the century requires drastic cuts to fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. The problem is, even if we do this we’ll still need to draw down the carbon dioxide that’s emitted in the meantime. To find out how, Shivani Dave speaks to Phoebe Weston and Damian Carrington about the natural and synthetic ways of pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

05 Oct 2021

12 MINS

12:43

05 Oct 2021


#291

CoolSculpting, Botox and fillers are on the rise – but are they safe?

Last week, supermodel Linda Evangelista posted on her Instagram page describing undergoing a procedure called CoolSculpting, claiming it has left her ‘permanently deformed’. With this, which is also known as cryolipolysis, and other non-surgical cosmetic treatments on the rise, particularly among younger people, Madeleine Finlay investigates how these procedures work and how risky they really are. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

30 Sep 2021

19 MINS

19:50

30 Sep 2021


#290

Fleeing a war zone is traumatic – so is what happens next

As Britain begins its commitment to take in 20,000 people fleeing Afghanistan, we look at the psychological impacts of trying to start again in a new country. Many asylum seekers and refugees have had to flee their homes in extremely distressing circumstances. A lucky few make it to a safe country such as the UK – but what happens next? Anand Jagatia speaks to Afraa, who was forcibly displaced from Syria with her family, and Prof Rachel Tribe, a counselling and occupational psychologist who works with asylum seekers and refugees. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

28 Sep 2021

14 MINS

14:05

28 Sep 2021


#289

Covid-19: how effective are face masks, really?

Since the start of the pandemic, face coverings and their ability to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 have been under constant scrutiny by scientists, politicians and the public. More than a year and a half in, what do – and don’t – we know? Madeleine Finlay speaks to Prof Cath Noakes about how effective different face coverings are, how best to use them, and when we should be masking-up. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

23 Sep 2021

13 MINS

13:22

23 Sep 2021


#288

Egg-freezing just got more attractive – but is it worth it?

Earlier this month the government announced it will extend the storage limit for those freezing their egg cells from 10 to 55 years. Over the past decade there has been a rapid growth in egg freezing, reaching 2,400 cycles in 2019, and the new rules will allow more freedom in choosing when to freeze – and unfreeze. But, as an expensive, invasive and often unsuccessful procedure, it certainly isn’t the fertility-preserving guarantee that most wish for. Shivani Dave asks if the process is really worth it for those wanting to conceive at a later date. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

21 Sep 2021

14 MINS

14:19

21 Sep 2021


#287

Jaws made us scared of sharks but is a lack of sharks scarier?

Last week, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) world conservation congress took place in Marseille. Guardian biodiversity reporter Phoebe Weston was there and heard about the latest updated ‘red list’ of threatened species, which included a warning that over a third of all shark and ray species now face extinction. To find out more, Anand Jagatia spoke to Phoebe about the findings and what they mean for the fate of sharks, rays and the ecosystems they inhabit. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

16 Sep 2021

12 MINS

12:44

16 Sep 2021


#286

Flu season: are we in for a bumpier ride this year?

In a report earlier this summer, the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) noted there could be a 50% increase in cases of influenza in comparison to other years. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Ian Sample about the factors at play, from weakened immunity to the expanded vaccine programme, and hears from Derek Smith, professor of infectious disease informatics about how the World Health Organization has decided on which influenza strains to vaccinate against this year. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

14 Sep 2021

18 MINS

18:14

14 Sep 2021


#285

Are third vaccines and vaccine boosters the same thing?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is recommending that a third jab be offered to people with weakened immune systems but the programme and rollout are different to the Covid vaccine boosters expected to be discussed by the JCVI later on Thursday. Shivani Dave speaks to Eleanor Riley, professor of immunology and infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh, and the Guardian science correspondent Nicola Davis about the distinctions between booster jabs and third jabs Coronavirus – latest updates. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

09 Sep 2021

10 MINS

10:05

09 Sep 2021


#284

Why swearing is more complicated than you think

Recently a study from Aston University revealed that the F-word had overtaken bloody to become Britain’s most popular swear word for the first time. Shivani Dave speaks to emeritus professor of psychology Timothy Jay of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to find out why people swear and whether or not there are any benefits to using swear words – especially as we move back into public spaces such as the office. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

07 Sep 2021

12 MINS

12:42

07 Sep 2021


#283

Can we really solve the climate crisis by planting trees? (part two)

Getting trees into the ground isn’t simple. Reforestation often involves trade-offs and challenges. Phoebe Weston checks in on two projects where people are planting trees, and one where it’s not humans doing the planting at all. She and Patrick Greenfield from The age of extinction are back with two new episodes. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

02 Sep 2021

16 MINS

16:27

02 Sep 2021


#282

Can we really solve the climate crisis by planting trees? (part one)

In an era of divisions over the climate breakdown, tree planting seems to bring everyone together. But are there situations where tree planting can cause more harm than good? And how much can it help us counteract global heating? Patrick Greenfield leads you through the science and controversy behind the decisions we’re making and how those decisions could shape our future environment. He and Phoebe Weston from The age of extinction are back with two new episodes. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

31 Aug 2021

16 MINS

16:58

31 Aug 2021


#281

Why aren’t children being vaccinated in the UK?

As back to school looms and in-person teaching returns, there is an expectation that Covid-19 cases will rise, especially among children. In the UK, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for children aged 12 to 17, but they are still not available to most people in this demographic. Shivani Dave speaks to the Guardian’s science correspondent, Natalie Grover, about why that is the case This podcast was amended on Thursday 26th August 2021 to correct for a misspeak: we said MRHA instead of MHRA. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=&quot;https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod&quot;>theguardian.com/sciencepod</a> ... Read more

26 Aug 2021

12 MINS

12:33

26 Aug 2021