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35,427 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science


MONDAY 17. JANUARY 2022


Moderna aims to launch single Covid and flu booster jab within two years

Combined vaccine should be ready in time for winter infectious season in 2023, says drug firm’s chief executiveModerna is aiming to launch a single booster vaccination that will protect against both Covid-19 and flu within two years, its chief executive has said.Stéphane Bancel said that the combined vaccine – which will protect against Covid-19, influenza and RSV, a common respiratory virus...

‘We started eating them’: what do you do with an invasive army of crayfish clones?

It’s been dubbed the perfect invader, but the marbled crayfish may offer a sustainable food source and even help prevent diseaseSmall, bluish-grey and speckled, it would be easy to overlook the marbled crayfish. Except for the fact it is likely to be coming to a pond or river near you soon – if it is not already there. The all-female freshwater crustacean has become a focus of fascination for...

Who’s a clever dog? Scientists study secrets of canine cognition

Dogs can figure out some things that even chimps can’t. Our science correspondent puts her puppy retriever to the testIt’s a cold winter’s day, and I’m standing in a room watching my dog stare fixedly at two flower pots. I’m about to get an answer to a burning question: is my puppy a clever girl?Dogs have been our companions for millennia, domesticated sometime between 15,000 and 30,000...

Starwatch: full moon to pass through three constellations

First up will be Gemini, the twins, then Cancer, the crab, and finally Leo, the lionThis week, the full moon will cruise through three zodiacal constellations. First Gemini, the twins; then Cancer, the crab; and finally Leo, the lion.The chart shows the view at 2100 GMT on 17 January, looking east-south-east from London. The moon will be full and sitting just below the two brightest stars of...


SUNDAY 16. JANUARY 2022


Don’t demonise those who refuse the Covid vaccine | Letters

One reader’s experience of the effects on family members of the conspiracy theories surrounding vaccinationsI read David Green’s letter on anti-vaxxers (12 January) and empathised with the letter written in response (13 January). The week before Christmas my dad died of Covid. The intensive care consultant couldn’t have been clearer that, in her opinion, if he had been vaccinated he would...

Archaeology’s sexual revolution

Graves dating back thousands of years are giving up their secrets, as new ways to pin down the sex of old bones are overturning long-held, biased beliefs about gender and loveIn the early summer of 2009, a team of archaeologists arrived at a construction site in a residential neighbourhood of Modena, Italy. Digging had started for a new building and in the process workers unearthed a cemetery,...

Life after lockdown: how do we best recover from the pandemic?

Two years of Covid have wreaked havoc with the nation’s mental health. What can be learned from the survivors of other traumas and is there a way of thinking ourselves to a happier, healthier place?It was October 2020 when I realised I was going to have to ask for help. I’ve always been anxious, but thanks to the pandemic, I developed debilitating health anxiety. A dire winter was coming and...

How antivirals provide hope to vulnerable Covid patients

Pfizer says its recently approved Paxlovid drug has almost 90% success in preventing severe illness if taken soon after infectionThe recent decision by regulators to approve the antiviral agent Paxlovid for use in the UK adds a formidable new weapon to the arsenal of treatments for Covid-19. Pfizer says the drug has almost 90% success in preventing severe illness in vulnerable adults if taken soon...

Trail of African bling reveals 50,000-year-old social network

Study finds ancient hunter-gatherers traded eggshell beads over vast areaScientists have uncovered the world’s oldest social network, a web of connections that flourished 50,000 years ago and stretched for thousands of miles across Africa.But unlike its modern electronic equivalent, this ancient web of social bonds used a far more prosaic medium. It relied on the sharing and trading of beads...


SATURDAY 15. JANUARY 2022


‘I’d keep it on the down low’: the secret life of a super-recogniser

Police employ them and scientists study them, but what is life like for the rare few who can never forget a face? Super-recogniser Yenny Seo didn’t think it was anything specialAs a child, Yenny Seo often surprised her mother by pointing out a stranger in the grocery store, remarking it was the same person they passed on the street a few weeks earlier. Likewise, when they watched a movie...

Mother who gave birth to stillborn son while in Covid coma urges people to get vaccine

Rachel, 38, said she was discouraged from having the Covid vaccine in the early days of the rolloutCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA mother whose baby was stillborn while she was in hospital with Covid-19 has urged people to get vaccinated to save themselves the “agony” of becoming seriously ill with the virus.Rachel, 38, from Bilston in Wolverhampton, who did not...

How weekly bike rides with a group of supportive women showed me a route to joy

When Tanya Frank joined a group of ‘joyriders’, she rediscovered her love of cycling and found a caring communityI always thought that joyriding meant nicking cars and taking them for a spin, often when drunk. It was what some of the wayward lads did on the Chingford Hall council estate where I grew up. So, I was surprised when the Waltham Forest newsletter reported a different kind of...

Texas scientists’ new Covid-19 vaccine is cheaper, easier to make and patent-free

Dr Maria Bottazzi says their vaccine, called Corbevax, is unique because they do not intend to patent itA new Covid-19 vaccine is being developed by Texas scientists using a decades-old conventional method that will make the production and distribution cheaper and more accessible for countries most affected by the pandemic and where new variants are likely to originate due to low inoculation...

What is Biological E, the Indian company producing Corbevax?

The Hyderabad-based company says the vaccine will provide ‘sustainable access to low- and middle-income countries’The Indian biotechnology and biopharmaceutical company Biological E has produced the country’s first locally developed Covid-19 vaccine in partnership with the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine.The Hyderabad-based company has...

As Covid-19 peak seems to near, experts warn against letting guard down

Hospitalizations and cases seem to be subsiding in states with high vaccination rates, but experts caution against celebrating too soonIn February 2021, Dr Craig Spencer wrote in a Medium post that he was as “eager as anyone to see the end of this pandemic. Thankfully, that may be in sight”.“Covid cases and hospitalizations are dropping,” wrote Spencer, director of Global Health in...


FRIDAY 14. JANUARY 2022


Expect another Omicron wave in early summer, Sage says

But experts are confident worst case scenarios for current Covid wave unlikely to occurCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageScientists advising the government have predicted there will be a fresh wave of Omicron cases in the early summer as people resume social activities and immunity wanes.But experts on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said they were...

‘Menace to public health’: 270 doctors call out Spotify over Joe Rogan’s podcast

An open letter expresses concern about Covid misinformation and specifically addresses an episode with virologist Robert MaloneA total of 270 US doctors, scientists, healthcare professionals and professors have written an open letter to streaming company Spotify, expressing concern about medical misinformation on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, listed as the platform’s most popular program.The...

Could a global farmers’ assembly help cut agriculture pollution?

Ammonia from animal waste and fertilisers used to grow feed create air pollution and poorer suffer mostWe think of industry and traffic as the main sources of air pollution and overlook farming and food production.A new study from the Chinese University of Hong Kong examined the impacts from changing diets and increased meat production in China since the 1980s. Initially, the changes in...

New study of 1980s Mars meteorite debunks proof of ancient life on planet

Scientists who were part of original 1996 study stand by their observations claiming new findings are ‘disappointing’A four billion-year-old meteorite from Mars that caused a splash here on Earth decades ago contains no evidence of ancient, primitive Martian life after all, scientists have said.In 1996, a Nasa-led team announced that organic compounds in the rock appeared to have been left by...


THURSDAY 13. JANUARY 2022


Huge icefish colony of 60 million nests found on Antarctic seabed – video

Researchers exploring Antarctica’s seabed have discovered a thriving, unprecedented colony of icefish 'about a third of the size of London'. 'We expected to see the normal Antarctic seafloor … [but] during the first four hours of our dive, we saw nothing but fish nests,' said Autun Purser, of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany, and lead author of the...

Please be civilised to unvaccinated people like my son | Letter

We mustn’t punish those who are fearful of getting the Covid vaccine, writes the mother of an autistic man who suffers from crippling anxietyI was disappointed by Dave Green’s letter (12 January) regarding the penalties he suggests for those who are unvaccinated. I can empathise with his words as a previous cancer patient myself, and also as a frontline nurse, but I disagree with his judgment...

Face masks make people look more attractive, study finds

Images of men wearing a blue medical face mask perceived as being the most attractiveCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThere have been precious few positives during the Covid pandemic but British academics may have unearthed one: people look more attractive in protective masks.Researchers at Cardiff University were surprised to find that both men and women were judged...

‘Nothing but fish nests’: huge icefish colony found in Antarctic sea

Researchers make unprecedented discovery of 60m active nests while collecting data in Weddell SeaResearchers exploring Antarctica’s seabed have discovered a thriving, unprecedented colony of icefish “about a third of the size of London”.The surprise discovery of about 60 million active nests was made by a team of biologists while collecting routine data at 1.5-2.5 metres above the seafloor...