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Inside Wuhan's coronavirus lab
Inside Wuhan's coronavirus lab

Inside Wuhan's coronavirus lab

65 min
Report
The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been at the centre of a controversy surrounding the origins of the virus which caused the Covid-19 pandemic. The work of the lab's previously obscure division looking at bat coronaviruses has been the subject of massive speculation and misinformation campaigns. Journalist and former biomedical scientist Jane Qui has gained unique access to the lab. She has interviewed the staff there extensively and tells us what she found on her visits. And Tyler Starr from the Fred Hutchinson Institute in Seattle, has looked at a range of bat coronaviruses from around the world, looking to see whether they might have the capability to jump to humans in the future. He found many more than previously thought that either have or are potentially just a few mutations away from developing this ability. Nuclear fusion researchers at the 40-year-old Joint European Torus facility near Oxford in the Uk for just the 3rd time in its long history, put fully-fledged nuclear fuel, a mixture of hydrogen isotopes, into the device, and got nuclear energy out – 59 megajoules. They used a tiny amount of fuel to make this in comparison with coal or gas. A survey of Arctic waters under ice near the North pole has revealed a colony of giant sponges, feeding on fossilised worms. Deep-Sea Ecologists Autun Purser at the Alfred-Wegener-Institut and Teresa Maria Morganti from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology tells us about the discovery. And, Climate change and biodiversity loss are two of the biggest threats humanity has ever faced - and tackling them is going to take a whole lot of collaboration and putting others before ourselves. But are humans cut out for this level of cooperation? Or are we fundamentally too self-interested to work together for the common good? Listener Divyesh is not very hopeful about all this, so he’s asked CrowdScience if humans have a “selfish gene” that dooms us to failure when trying to meet these challenges. He's worried that humans are destined by our evolution to consume ever more natural resources and destroy the environment in the process. But while it's true that humans often act in our own interest, we also show high levels of cooperation and care. Could tapping into these beneficial behaviours help us solve our global problems? Marnie Chesterton goes on the hunt for the best ways to harness human nature for the good of planet Earth - from making sure the green choice is always the cheaper and easier option, to encouraging and nurturing our better, altruistic and collaborative sides. We visit a rural mountain community in Spain to see the centuries-old system they have for sharing common resources; while in the city, we meet activists figuring out how to live a more community-spirited and sustainable urban life. And we speak to experts in evolution, ecology and psychology to find out what helps nudge us into greener habits. (Image: Getty Images)

Inside Wuhan's coronavirus lab

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