Q&A: How Covid-19 hijacks human cells

The virus that causes Covid-19 hijacks human cells by exploiting a ‘doorway’ that is potentially also used by other deadly viruses such as HIV, dengue and Ebola, according to recent research that may help to explain why the coronavirus is so highly infectious to a wide range of organs in the body.  Dr Yohei Yamauchi, a viral cell biologist at the University of Bristol, UK, who led the … Read more

The genetics of side-effects

Henk-Jan Guchelaar knows all too well the serious problems that the side–effects of medication can cause. As a professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, he has spent the last two decades trying to get the link between medicine and our genes recognised more widely.  The stories he hears from patients and their families bring home … Read more

Q&A: How vaccines can strengthen immune response beyond a specific disease

Live vaccines can give health effects beyond just protecting us from a specific disease and may even help us combat other infections such as Covid-19, according to Christine Stabell Benn, a professor in global health at the University of Southern Denmark. We often think about vaccines protecting us against a specific disease – training the … Read more

Q&A: Talking about the ‘race’ for a coronavirus vaccine could reduce public confidence

People’s willingness to have a vaccine changes depending on how at risk they feel, says anthropologist Heidi Larson. Image credit - RF._.studio/Pexels, licensed under the Pexels licence

Efforts to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 with a vaccine could be hampered by low levels of confidence in immunisation programs in some European countries, warns Professor Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project and an anthropologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, in the UK. Surveys conducted by the project during the … Read more