Q&A: Covid-19 pandemic highlights urgent need to change Europe’s food system

The coronavirus crisis highlights the need to change our food systems, says Prof. Jackson. Image credit - Anna Shvets/Pexels, licenced under CC0

by Alex Whiting Europe urgently needs to make its food system more sustainable – or else face growing food insecurity and health impacts – and the coronavirus pandemic offers us an opportunity to push for change, according to Professor Peter Jackson. Prof. Jackson is co-director of the University of Sheffield’s Institute for Sustainable Food in the UK, … Read more

‘I don’t see any other way out’: Diagnostic testing and smartphone contact tracing to beat pandemic

Researchers have found two different virus populations in the throat and lungs of coronavirus patients, a whole new type of virus behaviour. Image credit - pixnio.com/Darko Stojanovic, licenced under CC0

by Vittoria D’Alessio What makes the Covid-19 pandemic so difficult to contain? Silent transmission by asymptomatic patients is partly responsible, but research emerging from Germany suggests the SARS-CoV-2 virus has developed a second impressive strategy for ensuring its success: the ability to establish two separate communities within a host – the first in the throat, the … Read more

The dangers of misinformation and neglecting linguistic minorities during a pandemic

Advice on policies such as 'social distancing' can become lost in translation during crises, say researchers. Image credit - Città di Parma/Flickr, licenced under CC BY-SA 2.0

By Fintan Burke The rapidly changing coronavirus pandemic means governments and health authorities need to act fast. But medical advice — and pleas for help — are being hindered by language barriers and misinformation online. Improving communication for vulnerable communities in particular has become a race against time. The pandemic has now led to roughly half … Read more

Why robots are being trained in self-awareness

A robot 'recognises' itself in the bathroom mirror. Image credit - Pablo Lanillos

Robots passing cognitive tests such as recognising themselves in a mirror and being programmed with a human sense of time are showing how machines are being shaped to become a bigger part of our everyday lives.  In 2016, for the first time ever, the number of robots in homes, the military, shops and hospitals surpassed that … Read more