Category Archives: Medicine

‘It’s not over’: intimate diaries from the eye of the UK’s coronavirus storm

WHEN the Oxford team working on a Covid-19 vaccine first started holding weekly catchups in early February, Christina Dold, a 35-year-old senior postdoctoral researcher, jokingly referred to them as “Cobra” meetings. But it was in one of these early sessions that she found out how many volunteers they would be immunising daily, once the vaccine was ready to be tested. “I remember looking at a colleague. We were either going to cry or laugh, because the huge number of samples we’d have to process – potentially more than 100 a day – scared the living daylights out of us…”

Christina Dold, vaccine scientist. Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Guardian

This article first appeared in The Guardian on 4 July 2020. To continue reading, click here.

Drugs, money and misleading evidence

IN the race to find treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19, it’s more essential than ever that society can trust drug companies seeking regulatory approval. The Illusion of Evidence-Based Medicine is the latest in a long line of books that caution us not to hold out much hope…

This article was first published in Nature on 29 June 2020. To continue reading, click here.


Poison centre cases rise under Covid-19

THE official US advice has been to disinfect high-touch surfaces to minimise the spread of Covid-19. Taking that advice to the extreme, Lisa filled a sink with a mixture of 10% bleach solution, vinegar and hot water and soaked her vegetables and other food in it. Soon, she noticed a powerful odour of chlorine in the kitchen and was having difficulty breathing…

This article first appeared in The Guardian on 8 June 2020. To continue reading, click here.

Are we underestimating how many people are resistant to Covid-19?

DURING the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, cities were in general affected worse than smaller conurbations or rural areas. Yet in Italy, Rome was relatively spared while the villages of Lombardy experienced very high rates of sickness and death. Then again, one Lombard village – Ferrara Erbognone – stood out for not recording a single case of Covid-19 at the height of the wave. Nobody knows why…

The Lombard village spared by the plague

This article first appeared in The Observer on 7 June 2020. To continue reading, click here.

Interview: Covid-19 expert Karl Friston

NEUROSCIENTIST Karl Friston, of University College London, builds mathematical models of human brain function. Lately, he’s been applying his modelling to Covid-19, and using what he learns to advise Independent Sage, the committee set up as an alternative to the UK government’s official pandemic advice body, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage)…

Photo credit: Kate Peters

This article first appeared in The Observer on 31 May 2020. To continue reading, click here.