#49: New coronavirus variants
Two fast-spreading variants of coronavirus have been discovered in the UK and South Africa. With case numbers soaring, it’s feared these variants could lead to a massive wave of new infections around the world. The team examines why the mutations allow the virus to spread more quickly, what this means for the effectiveness of covid vaccines, and whether these new variants are more deadly. Also on the show, we explore the health benefits of going low-carb, and explain why high-fat diets might not be as bad for your heart as you might think. We discuss the discovery of ancient bones in a cave in South Africa which may belong to a new species of human. There’s also a look at how scientists are using soda bread as a scaffold for growing cells, which could be promising for lab-grown meat, and we discuss the result in the Georgia election for the US senate, and why that spells hope for action on climate change. On the panel are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Clare Wilson and Michael Le Page. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.