Health and Medicine

Long COVID: who is at risk? - COVID-19

Guest Author Jan 06, 2021

Frances Williams, King’s College London For most people, infection with SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – leads to mild, short-term symptoms, acute respiratory illness, or possibly no symptoms at all. But some people have long-lasting symptoms after their infection – this has been dubbed “long COVID”. Scientists are still researching long COVID. It’s not well understood, though our … Read More

Just how worrying is the new Covid-19 strain for Britain – and the rest of us? - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Dec 21, 2020

Let’s start with the basics. The genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for Covid-19 is a strand of RNA made up of almost 30,000 nucleotides. These are code for the amino acids that in turn give us the proteins that make up the virus. Each time the virus enters a new cell and replicates, its genetic material is copied, … Read More

Staying Safe from COVID-19 over Summer and Beyond: The Need for More NZ Government Action - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Dec 21, 2020

Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker Aotearoa/NZ has responded very successfully to the COVID-19 pandemic by achieving elimination and the lowest death rate in the OECD. But there are ongoing risks – which may even be increasing with larger numbers of infected returnees in border facilities. In this final blog of the year we detail the critical actions needed to … Read More

The virus that stole Christmas - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Dec 20, 2020

Mutant and virus are two words that rarely go well together. Reports from the UK that a  variant of SARS-CoV-2 has emerged (called lineage B.1.1.7), and may be more readily transmissible, aren’t what we want to hear just before Christmas, or any time. However, it isn’t necessarily a nightmare scenario. Coronaviruses have relatively low levels of mutation, … Read More

Covid-19 and the Science Media Centre - News

Katherine Hurst Dec 18, 2020

“Always expect the unexpected” could be the Science Media Centre’s motto, but 2020 has proven more unexpected than most years. The novel coronavirus spread through all aspects of the SMC’s work: queries from journalists, media briefings, expert reactions to breaking news, and distributing recent scientific research through the Scimex website. Even the SMC’s … Read More

Drawn from a young age to biology and science - Mātau Taiao

Rosemary Rangitauira Dec 16, 2020

The allure of the white lab coat and inventing new treatments for people’s health inspired Dr Kimiora Henare of Te Aupōuri and Te Rarawa to become a cancer biologist and biomedical scientist. Kimiora resides in Tāmaki Makaurau – working at the University of Auckland as a research fellow in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. Read More

30% of New Zealanders are ‘vaccine sceptics’, so trust is key to COVID-19 vaccine roll-out - COVID-19

Guest Author Dec 11, 2020

Claire Breen, University of Waikato The emergency approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the UK and the imminent roll-out of several other vaccines in 2021 raises serious questions about New Zealand’s likely uptake of this vital public health response. Recent research into New Zealanders’ attitudes to vaccination suggest positions have become more polarised over the last decade, … Read More

Sweden vs. New Zealand, with Taiwan in the lead - COVID-19

Dave Heatley Dec 11, 2020

Is the Covid pandemic and our collective responses to it best framed as health vs. the economy? That is, are countries forced to make a horrible trade-off between: minimising Covid infection rates at high economic cost; and accepting higher Covid infection rates, this being the cost of maintaining economic activity? This framing underlies many of the popular narratives comparing the … Read More