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 theguardian.com/sciencepod
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 theguardian.com/sciencepod
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&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 theguardian.com/sciencepod
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 theguardian.com/sciencepod
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 theguardian.com/sciencepod