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Author: LSHTM

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A podcast focusing on the science behind public and global health, and solutions to improve health and health equity worldwide. Brought to you from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
50 Episodes
Welcome back to a new season of LSHTM Viral, where we will be taking a deep-dive into vaccines and speak to experts working real-time on COVID-19. LSHTM modeller Roz Eggo reacts to the UK’s roadmap announcement on 22 February for easing lockdown restrictions, explaining the science behind the government's decision and how vaccination will forge a way out of the pandemic. John Edmunds, a UK government science advisor and professor of infectious disease at LSHTM discussed how new, potentially dangerous variants of the virus can emerge and key considerations for vaccination at this scale.
Season 3 trailer

Season 3 trailer


Launching February 23rd 2021 Vaccines are widely regarded as one of the greatest achievements of modern civilization, but how vaccines work, How do you create a vaccine? And perhaps most importantly, how do you produce enough to vaccinate the entire world? Join Karl Byrne, Amy Thomas and Naomi Stewart every fortnight as they explore the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic and take a deep dive into vaccines and vaccinations.  They will be talking about the latest pandemic news, answering your vaccine questions and speaking to experts from LSHTM and beyond, as they explore the past, present and future of vaccines. Find out more on our LSHTM podcast website.
How exactly did planetary health come to be, and where is it headed? In this season finale, we speak to two pioneers of the field - Prof Andy Haines of LSHTM and Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet. They discuss the urgency of embedding planetary health into the policy agenda, the benefits of increased public engagement with science during COVID-19, and how to address the inequalities that could hamper our efforts.
We hear a lot about reducing air pollution, but why do we need to? Join Amy, Naomi and Karl exploring the ins and outs of air pollution including, how the particles affect the human body, and where they come from. We turn to new research that uses machine learning, satellite data and on-the-ground monitors to build a highly detailed pollution map of Great Britain, revealing exciting avenues for the future of air pollution and health research. Contributions from LSHTM's Prof Paul Wilkinson and Prof Antonio Gasparrini.
The links between the environment and infectious diseases are extremely complicated with many factors to consider. With a novel virus like COVID-19, there are still many unknowns. In this episode, we ask expert ecologist, Dr Kris Murray, about the emergence of COVID-19 from bats in the Wuhan food market and how this relates to environmental change. Dr Rachel Lowe enlightens us with the latest evidence on environmental influences on other diseases, and what this could tell us about COVID-19 transmission risk in the future.
From Africa’s meningitis belt to the link between malaria and rice cultivation, and from mosquitoes in the Mekong Delta to mangoes in Mexico, the links between environmental change and infectious diseases are complex and, at times, surprising. Join Karl Byrne, Amy Thomas and guests as they delve into this fascinating topic. Karl and Amy chat about the US Presidential election and how it could impact America’s efforts towards curbing climate change going forward. Karl is also joined by Professor Martin Antonio from MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM and LSHTM PhD candidate Kallista Chan to talk about their research on two very different infectious diseases that are affected by environmental changes - bacterial meningitis and malaria - as well as the complex interactions between human impact on the environment and its effects on other diseases. If you would like to get in touch with the team , you can email us at You can find out more about the Centre of Climate Change and Planetary Health here.
What role does the private sector play in achieving sustainable yet nutritious food systems? In today's episode, Naomi Stewart explores the relationship between the private sector and climate change when it comes to the production of food, from small scale farmers to the mass industrialisation of plant-based alternatives. Our first guest is Francesca Harris, a PhD student at LSHTM who discusses the impacts of farming on water resources in India, and the ways that academia should or could interact with the private sector. Then, we speak to Adam Cheney, a R&D Manager at V2 - an Australian startup looking to develop scalable plant-based protein alternatives - about the perspective of the private sector and their mutual interest in a healthy, sustainable food future. Find out more about the Centre of Climate Change and Planetary Health.
Healthy and sustainable diets are essential for planetary health. Poor diets are a leading cause of ill health and death globally, and the food system is responsible for between 20% and 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. On-going environmental changes are also having a direct impact on food production, and without substantial efforts to adapt to the new environmental conditions, the food system will struggle to deliver healthy and sustainable diets for all. In this episode, Karl Byrne has a chat with Professor Alan Dangour, the Director of LSHTM's Centre of Climate Change and Planetary Health, and Pauline Scheelbeek, Assistant Professor of Nutritional and Environmental Epidemiology, about the challenges our food systems face and what we have to do to ensure healthy, nutritional and sustainable food supplies to feed the world's ever growing population. Find out more about the Centre of Climate Change and Planetary Health.  
Welcome to LSHTM Viral Season 2, which deep dives into planetary health with researchers from the newly formed Centre on Climate Change & Planetary Health at LSHTM, and other experts. In this episode we introduce the podcast team, Naomi Stewart, Karl Byrne and Amy Thomas. Sir Andy Haines, former director of LSHTM, also joins us to explain how the term planetary health came about, and why he became interested in this area.
Welcome to a special episode of LSHTM Viral! The UK has become the first country in the world to approve the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, with mass national roll out following as early as the next couple of weeks. Karl is joined in this episode by Dr Pauline Paterson, Dr Sadie Bell, and Prof Liam Smeeth of LSHTM, as they take a look at the factors that affect people's confidence and hesitance around vaccines, how the recent news might affect peoples perceptions of vaccines, and discuss some of the logistical and communication challenges that the UK faces in vaccinating the population. If you would like to get in touch with your questions and comments, we'd love to hear from you!  You can email us:
Will climate change make it too hot for humans to live? In today's planetary health episode of LSHTM Viral, we explore the deathly impacts of excess heat driven by global warming. Shakoor Hajat explains what actually happens to our body during heat stress and how that's causing increases in mortality and morbidity worldwide, and Ana Bonell shares a case study from her PhD research on how hot temperatures are affecting pregnant farmers - and their foetuses - in West Africa. Both researchers also explain why, despite the challenges, they are still hopeful.
In this bonus episode, we speak to Prof Heidi Larson, Director of the 'Vaccine Confidence Project'. Heidi and her team have just published a 5 year study looking at public confidence in vaccines worldwide across 149 countries. She discusses increases and declines in confidence, and what can be done to understand these different views in order to increase confidence and optimise vaccine uptake, which will be crucial with the hopeful arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine.
In our final episode of LSHTM Viral's first season, we dive into the history of pandemics and public health in the last few centuries, from the bubonic plague to AIDS and H1N1. Researchers from the Centre for History in Public Health explore how COVID-19 fits into this history, and how the past has shaped how we are responding to the crisis now.
For World Mosquito Day 2020, we explore the impact of COVID-19 on malaria control and prevention. A recent report from WHO says the continued disruption to malaria prevention could revert mortality to levels seen two decades ago. In this episode we speak to Prof of Epidemiology and Global Health, Sian Clarke, Co-Director of the Malaria Centre at LSHTM and Dr Corine Ngufor, Assistant Prof of Medical Entomology explains how we can adapt current malaria campaigns in West Africa while maintaining safety from COVID-19 transmission. More information:
COVID-19 cases are starting to rise across Africa. Researchers at The MRC Unit The Gambia, LSHTM, have developed a COVID-19 rumour tracking app to combat rumours and misinformation about COVID-19 circulating amongst the populations in The Gambia and neighbouring Senegal. Social Scientific Lead Dr Melisa Martinez-Alvarez, and Social Scientific Officer Lamin Leigh explain why the tracking app is needed and how it works. Link to the tracker:
We bring you our fourth live Covid-19 Q&A, broadcast on Twitter and YouTube on 28 July with Professor Peter Piot, Director of LSHTM, Dr John Nkengasong, first Director of Africa CDC and presented by Sarah Boseley, Health Editor at The Guardian.
Next Tuesday 28th July we are hosting our fourth COVID-19 Live Q&A with Peter Piot, Director of LSHTM, and John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC. Join our Q&A streamed on LSHTM’s Twitter and YouTube channels to ask your questions direct to world-leading experts with moderation by Sarah Boseley, Health Editor at The Guardian.
It has now been six months since the first case of COVID-19 was announced in China. There are over 10.5 million infections worldwide, and tragically 500,000 deaths. We listen back to our very first episode with LSHTM's Prof John Edmunds in January, where he acknowledges the likelihood of the disease arriving in the UK, the  day before the first case was announced.
The way people act and behave inside health clinics can impact the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, TB and Ebola. Understanding how this happens is essential for effective, long-lasting public health solutions. We speak to Alison Swartz, Aaron Karat and Karina Kielmann who work through a 'systems approach' that includes social science, anthropology and epidemiology in infection prevention control in South Africa. 
Efforts to curb the devastating effects of COVID-19 have halted the global economy and left governments striving to repair the damage. As we tackle the global recession in the wake of this pandemic, there’s a unique opportunity to push ahead on sustainable policies for our future. Sir Andy Haines, previous director of LSHTM and Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health explains how governments can put health and sustainability and the heart of our economic recovery. 
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