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New Scientist Australian Edition 26-Jun-21

New Scientist covers the latest developments in science and technology that will impact your world. New Scientist employs and commissions the best writers in their fields from all over the world. Our editorial team provide cutting-edge news, award-winning features and reports, written in concise and clear language that puts discoveries and advances in the context of everyday life today and in the future.

New Scientist Ltd
51 Issues

in this issue

2 min
elsewhere on new scientist

Virtual event Information and the future of defence Having accurate information on the world and the forces within it is a key part of national security. But the world is getting more complex and new threats are emerging – how do we make sense of everything to keep ourselves safe? This free debate, sponsored by BASF, will bring together leading thinkers to discuss the future of information and defence. Join us at 6pm BST on 8 July. Register online for a place now. newscientist.com/events Podcast Weekly The team discusses the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 and its rapid spread. Also on the podcast this week: China has sent the first astronauts to its new space station; and a conversation with forensic psychiatrist Gwen Adshead about the capacity we all have for evil. newscientist.com/podcasts Online Covid-19 daily briefing All the latest developments…

2 min
it is time to listen

IN JUNE last year, we first reported in detail on the “strange and debilitating” coronavirus symptoms that were crippling some people’s health for months after infection. Long covid, as we now know it, is indeed strange and mysterious in many ways, as we report on page 10. But it isn’t surprising. Post-viral syndromes, which often involve extreme, lasting fatigue and other symptoms, are common after many infections. About 1 in 10 people infected with SARS-CoV-2 seem to get lasting symptoms, a similar proportion to those infected with Epstein-Barr virus, one of the most common human viruses. The SARS virus, another coronavirus, left as many as 30 per cent of survivors meeting diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as CFS/ME, four years later. Based on this knowledge, some doctors, scientists, and…

3 min
south africa’s third wave

WHILE global coronavirus case numbers continue to decline, cases are surging in some African countries. South Africa has sent military medical personnel to hospitals in its Gauteng region, the commercial heart of the country, to help them cope with soaring numbers of covid-19 patients. Experts in South Africa attribute its third wave to increased social mixing. “It’s happening because we were pretty relaxed in terms of restrictions, we were allowing people to mix quite freely, even pretty big gatherings were allowed,” says Richard Lessells at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. The country is reporting nearly 200 cases per million people per day. During its second wave, it reported just over 300 cases per million at the peak. With case numbers climbing fast, the third might yet surpass the second. The third wave…

14 min
getting to grips with long covid

MORE than a million people in the UK are living with long covid, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS). And while global figures vary, it is thought that about 14 per cent of people who catch covid-19 end up with lasting symptoms – which is some 25 million people worldwide. This could be a big underestimate, though, because less than 10 per cent of infections are thought to be detected, so the true figure could be nearer 250 million. What is clear is that even after the pandemic is brought under control, millions of people will be left with lingering symptoms that prevent them from working and enjoying life. Here is what we know so far. What is long covid? While there is no universally agreed definition, long covid is…

4 min
learning to manage long covid

BEFORE the pandemic, Ellen would usually be found working as a nurse, taking her children to school or riding her horse. Now, as one of the estimated 1.1 million people in the UK living with long covid, she is beset with debilitating headaches, the latest in a string of symptoms she has experienced since developing the condition in March last year. “It’s been a long, long road,” says Ellen, speaking to New Scientist during a visit to the UK’s first long covid clinic, at University College London Hospitals. Established by Melissa Heightman, a doctor at UCLH, it is now one of 83 such clinics across England (there are no clinics elsewhere in the UK) offering patients help from multidisciplinary teams. For Ellen (who didn’t want to give her surname), the clinic has…

2 min
psoriasis drug may cut alcohol misuse

A MEDICINE for the flaky skin condition psoriasis could be used to treat alcohol dependence. People with alcohol use disorders (AUD) who took the drug significantly cut their alcohol intake, a small trial has found. AUD are generally treated using various forms of therapy and group counselling sessions such as those in Alcoholics Anonymous’s Twelve Steps programme. However, people often relapse. Recent studies have shown that people are more likely to drink too much if they have genetic variants causing higher levels of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4). Angela Ozburn at Oregon Health & Science University and her colleagues wondered if a psoriasis treatment called apremilast, which blocks this enzyme, could help reduce alcohol cravings. First, the team tested the drug in mice that had been bred to like and overconsume alcohol, and…