Since the start of the pandemic, face coverings and their ability to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 have been under constant scrutiny by scientists, politicians and the public. More than a year and a half in, what do – and don’t – we know? Madeleine Finlay speaks to Prof Cath Noakes about how effective different face coverings are, how best to use them, and when we should be masking-up. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Egg-freezing just got more attractive – but is it worth it?
Earlier this month the government announced it will extend the storage limit for those freezing their egg cells from 10 to 55 years. Over the past decade there has been a rapid growth in egg freezing, reaching 2,400 cycles in 2019, and the new rules will allow more freedom in choosing when to freeze – and unfreeze. But, as an expensive, invasive and often unsuccessful procedure, it certainly isn’t the fertility-preserving guarantee that most wish for. Shivani Dave asks if the process is really worth it for those wanting to conceive at a later date. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jaws made us scared of sharks but is a lack of sharks scarier?
Last week, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) world conservation congress took place in Marseille. Guardian biodiversity reporter Phoebe Weston was there and heard about the latest updated ‘red list’ of threatened species, which included a warning that over a third of all shark and ray species now face extinction. To find out more, Anand Jagatia spoke to Phoebe about the findings and what they mean for the fate of sharks, rays and the ecosystems they inhabit. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Flu season: are we in for a bumpier ride this year?
In a report earlier this summer, the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) noted there could be a 50% increase in cases of influenza in comparison to other years. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Ian Sample about the factors at play, from weakened immunity to the expanded vaccine programme, and hears from Derek Smith, professor of infectious disease informatics about how the World Health Organization has decided on which influenza strains to vaccinate against this year. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Are third vaccines and vaccine boosters the same thing?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is recommending that a third jab be offered to people with weakened immune systems but the programme and rollout are different to the Covid vaccine boosters expected to be discussed by the JCVI later on Thursday. Shivani Dave speaks to Eleanor Riley, professor of immunology and infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh, and the Guardian science correspondent Nicola Davis about the distinctions between booster jabs and third jabs Coronavirus – latest updates. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod