Weekly round up-Covid, Bond and much else

Firstly, thanks to al our fantastic contributors on the Cocktail Night blog, we learn from several sources that people liked them. And thanks to everyone who once again has read, shared and contributed to the blog, on here, face book, twitter and elsewhere. Too many to mention individually, we regret.

On then to brief selection of stories linking the most important themes in our lives for the week (no, we’re not going near that election!)

The whole sorry Covid-19 saga now seems to be turning on how long our antibodies will last. Whether you’re a herd immunity supporter, or a vaccine enthusiast, or just curious, everything depends on the duration of those pesky antibodies. In the Conversation, Sheena Cruikshank, a Professor at Manchester University, discusses fading and its implications.

Vaccines work; they have almost eliminated polio. But unless we keep up research, which means spending money, vaccination programmes will run down. It could even happen with polio. Here’s Nature

New Polo vaccine approved

Wild polio has almost been eradicated. But a version of the virus that arose naturally from the weakened polio virus used for vaccination is increasing. Now, a vaccine against this vaccine-derived polio strain is expected to receive emergency approval before the end of the year. If it does, it will be the first time the World Health Organization (WHO) has steered an unlicensed vaccine through its emergency listing process. “It’s going to be a very good exercise for us to look [at] how this works,” says WHO adviser Alejandro Cravioto. “Probably some of the COVID-19 vaccines will have to be authorized for use in the same way.”Nature | 7 min read

Message to all you wildcat capitalists out there: if you continue to to slash taxes and rip dividends out of companies every three months, there won’t be any long term research. Maybe high levels of testosterone will protect you from polio?

We love it when someone remembers our old blogs, like the one on magnetic polar flips. Here Mr Gary Herbert of Buckinghamshire uncovers a piece about an old tree which carries records of the last time it happened. Over to Doug Williams of Outdoor Revival:


Animal lovers, who’s man’s best friend, a dog or a cat? According to Nature, it’s dogs by many thousands of years. We may have been breeding them since before 11 000 years BCE

Ancient dog DNA reveals canine evolution

The largest-ever study of ancient dog genomes has revealed a lot about our four-legged friends. The analysis of more than two dozen Eurasian dogs suggests that the animals were domesticated and became widespread well before 11,000 years ago. “Already, there were at least five different groups of dogs across the world, so the origin of dogs must have been substantially earlier than that,” says population geneticist Pontus Skoglund. With so many genomes, the researchers could follow ancient dog populations as they moved and mixed and compare these shifts with those in human populations.Nature | 5 min read
Science paper

Oh well, they were here first. But as the old saying has it-Dogs have masters; Cats have Staff

And finally, sadly, we bid farewell to Sean Connery; for most fans he is still the best Bond of all. He was an accomplished actor in many roles, and the world is a poorer place without him. Good bye, Mr Bond. Here’s the Guardian


#magneticpoles #seanconnery #jamesbond #polio #vaccines #covid19 #sars-cov- 2 #nature #antibodyfading

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