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Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.


London, United Kingdom




Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.




Could the flu vaccine protect against severe Covid-19?

A really intriguing finding on flu vaccines - that they might offer some protection not just against flu, but against the most serious effects of Covid-19 – even though it is of course a completely different virus. Claudia Hammond talks to Dr Devinder Singh who led the research using anonymous medical records from countries including Singapore, Germany, Italy and Israel, which medical researchers can use. Summer viruses And why are some countries in the middle of the summertime, seeing a...


Mental health recovery stories

Claudia Hammond presents three stories where people have helped someone who’s going through mental health difficulties. Dale had spent his childhood playing basketball at an elite level, and when his career stalled he became depressed. A chance meeting with Mike, a customer in the mobile phone shop where Dale was working, has turned his life around. Poppy was going through a very tough time when she was 16, but a teacher at her college called Sophie Durant was determined to give her the...


Lambda variant of SARS-Cov2

The lambda variant of coronavirus, first seen in Peru and Chile, has now spread to 27 other countries and new research just out suggests it’s better than other variants at escaping the antibodies produced by the CoronaVac vaccine that’s widely used in Latin America. The WHO does only currently classify it as a variant of interest and not a variant of concern. Ricardo Soto Rifo from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Chile, Santiago who conducted this new research explains his...


Mixing Covid vaccines

New evidence on whether mixing Covid vaccines and spreading doses out gives better results. Plus, has five years of food labels in Chile warning of high fat, sugar or salt made a difference to obesity levels? Jane Chambers reports. And what gives some people a sense of entitlement? Emily Zitek, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Cornell University explains her new research. Claudia's studio guest is James Gallagher, BBC Health and Science Correspondent. Presenter: Claudia...


Tanzania joins Covax

As Tanzania joins Covax, Rhoda Odhiambo discusses the challenges ahead and says 'joining' makes it sound simple but the requirements that need to be put in place are far from simple. Also,results from the first national TB prevalence survey in South Africa shows that the disease is found more in men and young people than previously recognised. Claudia talks to professor Martie van der Walt, director of the TB platform of the South African Medical Research Council while Taurai Maduna reports...


New treatment for Covid

Good news that a new treatment for Covid could help one in three people in hospital. Results are from the Recovery trial in the UK using an infusion of two antibodies made in the laboratory which bind to the virus and stop it replicating. But it is expensive and those people who haven't made their own antibodies should be given the treatment. And Project S - the unique experiment that vaccinated a whole town in Brazil. Claudia speaks to Dr Ricardo Palacios, clinical studies director at the...


FDA approves new Alzheimer’s drug

Aducanumab the controversial new drug for Alzheimer’s disease, just approved by the FDA in the US is the first approved breakthrough in nearly 20 years. But, as Sarah Boseley explains, scientists dispute the drug’s effectiveness. Good news from a study published in Lancet Healthy Longevity looking at protection levels from getting Covid. It studied the risk of COVID reinfection in care home staff and occupants up to 10 months after first being unwell and showed substantial levels of...


Black Fungus epidemic in India

Could over the counter Steroids be driving the Black Fungus epidemic in India? Claudia talks to Dr Awadhesh Singh from the GD Hospital and Diabetes Institute in Kolkata who explains the link between Steroid use and the shocking surge in cases of this deadly disease. Guest Matt Fox from Boston University discusses mass Covid testing in Vietnam and a trial of mask wearing in Bangladesh, plus the renaming of Covid variants using the Greek alphabet. And bestselling author Dr Jen Gunter on her...


Is kindness contagious?

The kind boss who transformed their employee's mental health – Natalie and Gillian share their amazing story with Claudia Hammond. And new research finds kindness really is contagious - Alison van Diggelen hears from scientists in California that kindness really does spread. Plus guest professor Monica Lakhanpaul discusses vaccine effectiveness against the variant first identified in India and addresses ethical questions of vaccinating children. Plus new science on how mammals breathing...


When to have your second vaccine dose?

New evidence for when to have your second Covid vaccine dose; Plus the long awaited results of a 20 year trial into Ovarian Cancer screening and whether picking the disease up early with a simple blood test helps to save lives. And Misophonia – the curious condition where sounds of other people eating can cause anger and panic. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Vials of vaccine for Covid-19 to be administered by injection. Photo credit: A. Martin UW...


Is BMI an outdated risk measure?

New research from The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal shows current body mass index [BMI] guidance is outdated and dangerous for people from different ethnic groups. The study’s principal investigator, Dr Rishi Caleyachetty unpicks the global implications of his findings. Maria Rebollo Polo – WHO lead for Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa – explains the important task of mapping NTDs like Trachoma. Plus Khadidiatou Cisse reports from Benin on Trachoma – one of the oldest known...


Tanzania's new Covid prevention measures

As Tanzania announces new Covid prevention measures after the new president instigates a change in response to the pandemic, correspondent Rhoda Odhiambo discusses the implications for the country. And celebrating the Windrush generation in theatre - nurses who came to the UK from the Caribbean to work in the NHS share their memories in a new play. Plus Claudia talks to Mohsen Rajabi about his new research surveying Mental Health in Iran - both parents and children - after 16 months of...


India’s Covid-19 surge

As India surpasses 200,000 Covid deaths Claudia asks why the surge has been so steep and hears the latest from health reporter Anoo Bhuyan in Delhi. And there's good news of a new Malaria Vaccine showing 75% efficacy. Studio guest Tabitha Mwangi discusses this important breakthrough in the context of a new study from the Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal with the first clinical evidence of drug-resistant malaria mutations gaining foothold in Africa. Plus Caroline Williams on her new book...


Medical mysteries with neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan

Claudia Hammond hears stories of medical mysteries from author of Sleeping Beauties and consultant neurologist Suanne O’Sullivan. From the refugee children in Sweden who slept for months to the US Embassy staff in Cuba who fell ill with dizziness, what can cases like these and others from around the world reveal about the mind and body. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Deborah Cohen


Chile’s vaccine roll out

Claudia and guest Professor Matthew Fox from Boston University discuss the latest Covid-19 research this week – and there’s plenty of it! There’s new data on the variant first found in the UK, plus efficacy data just out comparing the immune responses to the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. And news from India of a so called ‘double mutant’ where two variants come together. Meanwhile the big vaccine news in the US is that they have temporarily suspended the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, so...


Mental Health and the long term implications of Covid

Mental Health and Covid; Claudia examines a large new Lancet Psychiatry study showing that one in three people develop anxiety, depression or a neurological problem in the six months after they were ill with the virus. Ten years on from the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan. Professor Jun Shigemura discusses whether the unseen threat of exposure to radiation can teach us anything about dealing with the hidden threat of the current Covid-19 virus. A report from Nigeria on how...


Can we eradicate leprosy?

Despite the myths and fear which surround leprosy it can be treated and prevented with a short course of antibiotics. The disease is spread by a bacteria which is easily killed with these drugs. Although this stops the virus spreading it doesn’t help those who have been disfigured by the parasite, they are still viewed negatively even though they are no longer infectious. As Seydina Alioune Djigo reports, Senegal has embarked on a campaign to both treat Leprosy with drugs and educate more...


Covid vaccines for children

Vaccine hesitancy and Covid vaccines for Children. Claudia talks to paediatrician Dr Robert Jacobson of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA about issues of Covid vaccine hesitancy and why this issue may grow as Covid vaccines become available for children. As trials on children as young as 6 months get underway, and vaccination for children likely to be available, in some countries, from the summer/early autumn, why is vaccinating children against Covid important and what can be done...


Working with disability

In Senegal there are a range of measures to help people living with disabilities enter the workforce, however overcoming attitudes is still a major issue. And we look at the impact of shoes on our physical health, it’s not just feet but bones and joints in the legs and spine that can be affected by our footwear. With Khadidiatou Cisse, Saida Swaleh and Priscilla Ngethe.


Can the common cold prevent Covid?

Claudia talks to her guest Dr Ann Robinson about a new study from the University of Glasgow in the UK that suggests the virus that causes the common cold can effectively boot the Covid virus out of the body's cells. Some viruses are known to compete in order to be the one that causes an infection and researchers have discovered that it appears cold-causing rhinovirus trumps coronavirus. The benefits might be short-lived but rhinovirus is so widespread it could still help to suppress Covid....