For the past few months Insulate Britain have been blocking roads in an effort to pressure the government into sealing up the UK’s leaky, draughty housing-stock. So why are a group of eco-activists facing confrontations from angry drivers, and even risking injury, for insulation? Shivani Dave speaks to environment correspondent Matthew Taylor about Insulate Britain’s demands and explores the possible health benefits of properly insulated homes with Dr James Milner. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
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 theguardian.com/sciencepod
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