Initial Omicron Lab Data, Creative Naps, and Fishy Sounds.

BBC Inside Science

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Initial Omicron Lab Data, Creative Naps, and Fishy Sounds.

BBC Inside Science

T-Cells in vaccinated people may be holding the fort, or at least fighting serious illness, against the latest SARS CoV2 variant. Also, how the briefest of sleeps aids creativity. Prof Penny Moore, of South Africa’s National Centre for Infectious Disease and Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, joins us again this week to give us an update from the front line of scientists trying to get the data we need to try to predict the seriousness of the omicron variant. These early data, published as pre-prints and not yet peer-reviewed, seem to suggest that for those in the world lucky enough to have "seen a spike" three times (double vaccination plus booster, or double vaccination plus recovered from infection) the chances of serious illness remain similar to earlier variants. One chink of hope continues to be the fascinating response of the "killer" T-Cells. Prof Danny Altmann of Imperial College London attempts to give us a T-Cell 101 course. This other division of the body’s defences, besides the binding antibodies of which we hear so much, may be more resilient to the sorts of mutations the virus has shown so far, and also perhaps have a slower waning in their ability to recognize it at all. What did Salvador Dali and Thomas Edison have in common? A fondness for the occasional creative nap. And this week scientists suggest they weren't wrong. Delphine Oudiette, a sleep researcher at the L’Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière in Paris, has been experimenting with the idea that just a small nap, where you doze off for a few seconds but don't fall into deep sleep statistically helps you solve creative or mathematical problems. Her results are published in the journal Science Advances. Meanwhile, in shallow seas off Indonesia, attempts to regrow coral reefs previously pounded to rubble by fishing with explosives, really sound like they are recovering. How do scientists know? By swimming about with microphones of course. Dr Tim Lamont, a marine Biologist at the University of Exeter has been listening to thousands of recordings of fish and other marine animal noises and talks Vic through some of the odder ones that so far can't be recognized. He says the sheer number and frequency of the odd sounds point to an ecosystem beginning to thrive. The coral rebuilding strategy there won't work for all the world's dwindling corals, but this new way of monitoring success or failure makes for a great listen. Presenter: Victoria Gill Producer: Alex Mansfield Assistant Producer: Emily Bird Made in Association with The Open University
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T-Cells in vaccinated people may be holding the fort, or at least fighting serious illness, against the latest SARS CoV2 variant. Also, how the briefest of sleeps aids creativity. Prof Penny Moore, of South Africa’s National Centre for Infectious Disease and Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, joins us again this week to give us an update from the front line of scientists trying to get the data we need to try to predict the seriousness of the omicron variant. These early data, published as pre-prints and not yet peer-reviewed, seem to suggest that for those in the world lucky enough to have "seen a spike" three times (double vaccination plus booster, or double vaccination plus recovered from infection) the chances of serious illness remain similar to earlier variants. One chink of hope continues to be the fascinating response of the "killer" T-Cells. Prof Danny Altmann of Imperial College London attempts to give us a T-Cell 101 course. This other division of the body’s defences, besides the binding antibodies of which we hear so much, may be more resilient to the sorts of mutations the virus has shown so far, and also perhaps have a slower waning in their ability to recognize it at all. What did Salvador Dali and Thomas Edison have in common? A fondness for the occasional creative nap. And this week scientists suggest they weren't wrong. Delphine Oudiette, a sleep researcher at the L’Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière in Paris, has been experimenting with the idea that just a small nap, where you doze off for a few seconds but don't fall into deep sleep statistically helps you solve creative or mathematical problems. Her results are published in the journal Science Advances. Meanwhile, in shallow seas off Indonesia, attempts to regrow coral reefs previously pounded to rubble by fishing with explosives, really sound like they are recovering. How do scientists know? By swimming about with microphones of course. Dr Tim Lamont, a marine Biologist at the University of Exeter has been listening to thousands of recordings of fish and other marine animal noises and talks Vic through some of the odder ones that so far can't be recognized. He says the sheer number and frequency of the odd sounds point to an ecosystem beginning to thrive. The coral rebuilding strategy there won't work for all the world's dwindling corals, but this new way of monitoring success or failure makes for a great listen. Presenter: Victoria Gill Producer: Alex Mansfield Assistant Producer: Emily Bird Made in Association with The Open University
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