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32,237 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science

It's a sweet relief to be vaccinated – but it's not a return to normality | Polly Toynbee

As older people relish being vaccinated, the UK government’s messaging risks being confusing and contradictoryCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageAge brings few benefits, as far as I can see: not wisdom, not virtue, nor serenity. But what a bonus to find yourself among the ranks of septuagenarians lining up for the Covid-19 vaccine. This gift of life arrives via an...

English care homes 'sitting ducks' as GPs refuse Covid vaccine at infected sites

Outbreaks recorded in 635 facilities, but vaccinations delayed despite NHS deadline to protect vulnerable people Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageCovid outbreaks are slowing delivery of the vaccine to some care homes in England as GPs postpone jabs in infected facilities. Managers say they have been left as sitting ducks.Covid outbreaks were recorded in 635 English...

Giant worm's undersea lair discovered by fossil hunters in Taiwan

Scientists believe 2-metre-long burrow once housed predator that ambushed passing sea creaturesThe undersea lair of a giant worm that ambushed passing marine creatures 20m years ago has been uncovered by fossil hunters in Taiwan.Researchers believe the 2-metre-long burrow found in ancient marine sediment once housed a prehistoric predator that burst out of the seabed and dragged unsuspecting...

The UK has record death tolls, yet still the government has no clear Covid strategy | Helen Ward

Vaccination on its own is not a way out of this pandemic. We need to use other tools and involve ordinary peopleHelen Ward is professor of public health at Imperial College LondonCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageBack in April 2020, I wrote of my despair that so many people were desperately ill and dying because politicians had “refused to listen and act on advice”....

We're about to see a wave of long Covid. When will the government take it seriously? | George Monbiot

The NHS must learn from its mistakes with other post-viral conditions such as ME/CFS – more research is vitalCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coveragePerhaps to a greater extent than at any point since the first world war, we find that our lives do not matter to those who govern us. Boris Johnson scarcely seeks to disguise his insouciance and callousness. He hardly mentions...

Wear medical-grade masks if you can't socially distance, Britons told

As new Covid variants emerge, scientists advise use of FFP masks that filter inflow and outflow of air Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageScientists have urged Britons to wear medical-grade masks when they cannot physically distance, amid growing concerns of faster-spreading Covid-19 variants – but said that any face covering is better than none at all.This week French...

Pfizer Covid vaccine could be approved in Australia 'pretty soon', says head of advisory committee

Prof Allen Cheng explains how coronavirus vaccines are assessed and what Australia has learned from countries already rolling them outA decision on approving the Pfizer vaccine for use against Covid in Australia is imminent with the recommendations of the independent Advisory Committee on Vaccines now in the hands of the drugs regulator.The chair of the committee, Prof Allen Cheng, said it had...

Covid cases may have stopped falling, major English survey shows

Tests from 142,000 people suggest level of infections stable or rising slightly after recent fallsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageCases of coronavirus may no longer be falling across England, according to a major survey that raises concerns over whether lockdown measures can contain the new variant, as the UK reported a record daily number of deaths.Boris Johnson...


WEDNESDAY 20. JANUARY 2021


UK Covid live: 1,820 deaths reported in new record high alongside 38,905 new cases

Latest updates: a further 1,820 die in the UK within 28 days of a Covid test; Downing Street says police must wait for phase two of vaccine rolloutUK reports 1,820 Covid deaths in record daily highVaccines may need updating to protect against new variantPriti Patel says she wanted UK borders shut last MarchTalking can spread Covid as much as coughing, says researchCoronavirus – latest updates...

Covid vaccines may need updating to protect against new variant, study suggests

Neutralising ability of antibodies typically falls eight-fold with South African variantCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageCoronavirus vaccines may need to be redesigned this year to boost protection against a new variant that emerged rapidly in South Africa, research suggests, while past Covid sufferers may not be protected against reinfection.Research by South African...

Indian hesitancy sets back world's biggest Covid vaccination drive

Low uptake fuelled by fears over safety of vaccine and spread of misinformation Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageIndia’s Covid-19 vaccine drive has been hampered by turnout as low as 22% in some states, as fears over the safety of the vaccine and the spread of misinformation has fuelled widespread hesitancy.On Saturday, India launched the world’s largest...

China revives conspiracy theory of US army link to Covid

Suspicions about army lab spread on social media after official’s tit-for-tat response to US claimCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageAttempts by Chinese authorities to shift the narrative around Covid-19’s origins have reignited on social media this week after a government spokesperson revived a conspiracy theory that it came from a US army lab.Hua Chunying, a...

Oxford animal-only antibiotic lab could prop up intensive farming, critics say

New research centre to tackle overlap of livestock and human medicines, but campaigners fear “techno-fix” for factory farmingAn initiative to develop bespoke antibiotics for livestock has raised fears that it could be a “techno-fix” for more intensive farming.Mixed reactions have followed news that Ineos, a global petrochemical manufacturer, has donated £100m to establish the Ineos Oxford...

Daily Covid testing plans 'paused' in English schools

PHE says potential benefits of daily testing unclear in light of emergence of new variantCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe government has told schools to pause the daily coronavirus testing of students and staff in England, five weeks after it was announced as a “milestone moment” by the education secretary, Gavin Williamson.Public Health England (PHE) said the...

Plantwatch: weeds – appreciating the wild things on our streets

Lockdown may have given us more respect for the wild plants, and the work they do, in our urban areasWeeds have a public image problem – unloved, trodden on, dug up and sprayed with herbicides. But during lockdown, the weeds in towns and cities have given a contact with nature, no matter how humble their roots. These are, after all, wild plants growing under our feet and they deserve respect.A...

Covid unlikely to die out, says New Zealand health chief Ashley Bloomfield

Director general says virus may become less deadly over time and warned of vigilance needed to keep out new variantsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageCovid-19 is unlikely to ever die out, even with vaccination efforts, but it could become more transmissible and less deadly, New Zealand’s director general of health has warned. “If you think about influenza, which was...

Talking can spread Covid as much as coughing, says research

Tiny aerosols of the virus emitted when speaking linger in air for longer than larger droplets from a coughCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageSpeaking to a friend when infected with the coronavirus could be as dangerous as coughing near them thanks to lingering particles, research has suggested.Covid can be spread through a number of routes, including virus-containing...


TUESDAY 19. JANUARY 2021


UK coronavirus death toll rises with highest daily record of 1,610

Public Health England says number of daily new infections fell to 33,355 – down from 37,535 on MondayCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe UK has recorded its deadliest day from coronavirus so far, with 1,610 deaths recorded on Tuesday.It comes as the number of new infections fell, with confirmed coronavirus cases within 24 hours dropping to 33,355 – down from...

Mexico archaeologists reveal tale of cannibalism and reprisal from conquest

A convoy of Spaniards and allies was ritually sacrificed in 1520 at Tecoaque – ‘the place where they ate them’ – before Hernán Cortés wreaked revengeNew research suggests Spanish conquistadores butchered at least a dozen women and their children in an Aztec-allied town where the inhabitants sacrificed and ate a detachment of Spaniards they had captured months earlier.The National...

Covid-related deaths in care homes in England jump by 46%

Number of deaths at highest level since mid-May and UK toll at more than 25,000, latest figures showCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageDeaths in care homes in England have hit the highest level since mid-May, according to the latest official figures, which revealed a 46% jump in coronavirus-related deaths in the last week as the more transmissible variant of Covid-19...

Statue of fossil hunter Mary Anning to be erected after campaign

Crowdfunder led by schoolgirl raises £70,000 for sculpture of pioneering palaeontologist in Lyme Regis, DorsetA statue to Mary Anning, a fossil hunter and palaeontologist once “lost to history” but now considered a significant female force in science, is finally to be erected after a crowdfunding campaign by a teenage girl.Evie Swire, 13, was nine years old when she first heard of Anning, who...

Covid: UK health secretary Matt Hancock to self-isolate

Minister will quarantine until Sunday after being contacted by NHS app Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageMatt Hancock has become the latest senior politician to self-isolate after contact with someone who has contracted coronavirus, with the UK health secretary saying he had been “pinged” by the NHS app.Hancock said he would stay at home until Sunday. While the...

Sri Lankan holy man’s ‘miracle’ potion for Covid turns sour

Minister who publicly drank syrup touted as coronavirus cure tests positive Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA self-styled Sri Lankan holy man’s supposed miracle potion to prevent Covid-19 has turned sour after a minister who publicly drank it was taken to hospital with the virus.Thousands defied public gathering restrictions to swamp a village in central Sri Lanka...

UK Covid live: minister plays down chart showing UK's death rate currently worst in world

Latest updates: Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis says ‘we’re not through this virus yet’ but claims comparisons are unfairOne in four UK young people have felt ‘unable to cope’ in pandemicHoliday bookings surge as Covid vaccinations increase travel hopesCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage 10.12am GMT Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, was...