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BBC World Service - Health Check

Health Check

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

Health Check

  • Omicron variant news
    News update on the new Omicron variant now in many countries across the world. Plus Hannah Fisher reports on the science of smell and conditions other than Covid where it can be lost. Holly Bradshaw, Olympic pole-vaulter turned psychology researcher discusses the post-Olympic blues with Karen Howells, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology. And could Viagra be a candidate drug for Alzheimer's disease? This week’s guest is Mathew Fox, Professor of Global Epidemiology from Boston University. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: 3D illustration of coronavirus. Credit: Maksim Tkachenko/Getty Images.)

  • Omicron Covid variant – what do we know?
    Omicron Covid variant – what do we know? Claudia examines key questions about the new variant with Professor of Molecular Virology, Jonathan Ball. Plus growing evidence that pollution has a negative effect on our mental health. And a new way of testing for TB in children. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Image: Microscopic view of influenza virus cells. Photo credit: Panorama Images/Getty Images.)

  • Covid cases across Europe
    James Gallagher, BBC health and science correspondent, examines Covid case rates across Europe. A report on a new study documenting the incidence of Typhoid in three capital cities - Blantyre, Malawi and Kathmandu, Nepal, for the first time - plus updated estimates in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Claudia discusses the role of antibiotic resistance and gets an update on a new vaccine for the disease. Remembering Professor Sir Michael Rutter, ‘the father of child psychiatry’ who died recently. And can house work help your memory? Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A crowded street in Brussels, Belgium in November 2021. Photo credit: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty images.)

  • T-cell Covid protection before the pandemic
    New research on how some people had a level of Covid immunity before the pandemic started. Blood samples showed hospital staff being monitored in the first wave already had protective ‘killer’ T-cells probably from exposure to other viruses related to the one that has swept the globe. The difference between antibodies to an infection and antibodies caused by a vaccine. And the extraordinary story of a woman who rid her body of HIV. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Microbiologist studying coronavirus. Photo credit: Janiecbros/Getty Images)

  • New antiviral pills to treat Covid
    New antiviral pills to treat Covid are coming thick and fast. Pfizer have just announced their new antiviral Paxlovid in the same week UK’s MHRA was the first country in the world to approve Molnupiravir – Merck’s pill launched last month. So how do the two antivirals compare? And a report from the longest operating milk bank in North America. Since 1974, the Mothers’ Milk Bank in San Jose, California has been collecting breast milk to help nurture vulnerable babies (especially premature ones) at a critical time in their lives. Today it supplies about 500 gallons of breast milk a month reaching over 80% of California’s newborn intensive care units (or NICU’s) and serves eleven hospitals in other U.S. states, as far afield as New York. Who donates all this milk and how is the milk treated to ensure it’s safe and nourishing for babies? Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A hand holding pills. Photo credit: Thana Prasongsin/Getty Images.)