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Eating less food from animal sources is key to reducing the risk of wildlife-origin diseases and global warming

Eating less food from animal sources is key to reducing the risk of wildlife-origin diseases and global warming

THE world is at greater risk of infectious diseases that originate in wildlife because people are encroaching on tropical areas of wilderness to feed livestock and hunt wild animals. Tropical deforestation and over-hunting are also at the root of global warming and mass species extinction. Devastating pandemics like HIV/AIDS, Ebola and COVID-19 are likely to have originated in wildlife. This serves as a reminder of how human impacts on the environment interlink with disease as well as climate change and biodiversity loss. Authors GIULIA WEGNER, Researcher, Sustainable Development and Wildlife Conservation, University of Oxford KRIS MURRAY, Associate Professor, Environment and…
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Can COVID-19 inspire a new way of planning African cities?

Can COVID-19 inspire a new way of planning African cities?

PATRICK BRANDFUL COBBINAH, Lecturer, University of Melbourne ELLIS ADJEI ADAMS, Assistant professor, University of Notre Dame MICHAEL ODEI ERDIAW-KWASIE, Research fellow, University of Southern Queensland HEALTH crises are not new in Africa. The continent has grappled with infectious diseases on all levels, from local (such as malaria) to regional (Ebola) to global (COVID-19). The region has often carried a disproportionately high burden of global infectious outbreaks. How cities are planned is critical for managing infectious diseases. Historically, many urban planning innovations emerged in response to health crises. The global cholera epidemic in the 1800s led to improved urban sanitation systems.…
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Messenger RNA: how it works in nature and in making vaccines

Messenger RNA: how it works in nature and in making vaccines

VACCINES have long been an integral part of public health programmes around the world, reducing the spread and severity of infectious diseases. The success of immunisation strategies to protect children from diseases like polio, hepatitis B, and measles, and adults from influenza and pneumococcal disease, can be seen globally. KRISTIE BLOOM, Group Leader: Next-generation Vaccines, Antiviral Gene Therapy Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand The COVID-19 pandemic created an urgent need for an effective vaccine. This is where messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, which are classified as a next-generation technology, gained prominence. Decades of research and clinical development into synthetic mRNA…
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New malaria vaccine proves highly effective – and COVID shows how quickly it could be deployed

New malaria vaccine proves highly effective – and COVID shows how quickly it could be deployed

CORONAVIRUS vaccines have been developed and deployed in record time, but as global rollout has progressed, too few doses have been made available in low-income countries. It’s a stark reminder that when it comes to infectious diseases, the world’s poorest often get left behind. ADRIAN HILL, Director of the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford This is a problem that extends far beyond COVID-19. In Africa, for example, malaria has probably caused four times as many deaths as COVID-19 over the past year. Thankfully, our new research shows that an effective vaccine against malaria could now be closer than ever before.…
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