From a universal flu vaccine that could save us from a pandemic, to vaccines that target ticks and mosquitoes, Horizon looks at the science of vaccines during the month of February.
The bacteria that causes TB infects over a quarter of the world’s population, and we speak to the European scientists who are closing in on a vaccine for the disease that could save millions of lives.
We also look at the rise of measles and mumps as a result of fears over the MMR vaccination – and interview researchers who are collecting information to try to prevent unnecessary future vaccine scares.
The rise of alternative health practices and a quest for purity can partly explain the falling confidence in vaccines which is driving outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles, according to Heidi Larson, professor of anthropology, risk and decision medicine at the UK’s London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is working to understand the causes of vaccine hesitancy in order to devise ways of rebuilding trust.
The fight against poverty-related diseases is gaining ground as scientists prepare trials of vaccines for hookworm, leishmaniasis and other parasitic diseases common in the developing world, thanks to the support of public research funding.
The days when measles was a killer disease affecting thousands are firmly in the past thanks to mass immunisations. However, a fall in vaccination rates means the disease is starting to make an unwelcome comeback in Europe – and European scientists have found a way to help.
Scientists have discovered that a single severe head injury can lead to dementia through a rogue protein that propagates through the brain and corrupts others, giving some much needed insight into what happens inside an injured brain.
A sister and brother who created shock-activated protective gear featuring a starch liquid for people who in-line skate, motorcycle and do other risky sports, won one of the three first prizes at this year’s European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS).
Winners from Germany and Canada take home top prizes.
New observations may provide alternative explanations for dark energy.
We need to double-check the evidence on dark energy, as it may not exist at all, says Prof. Subir Sarkar.