Science in Action

BBC World Service

News & Politics

The BBC brings you all the week's science news.


Virus test in a suitcase

February 4th, 2016

Episode 76 of 158 episodes

Zika has been officially declared a global public health emergency, just three weeks after the World Health Organization announced the Ebola epidemic in West Africa to be over. Reported cases of Zika infections are on the rise. The virus is thought to be linked to an increase in the number of cases of microcephaly – babies born with abnormally small heads. The WHO is calling on scientists to coordinate their efforts to find out more about the virus. Being able to diagnose and monitor the disease quickly is crucial. The best results come from genome sequencing, which can be used to identify any type of pathogen. Dr Nick Loman tells us about a portable lab that has been tested with Ebola, which fits comfortably into a suitcase. Real data on melting West Antarctic ice sheet Warming oceans cause Antarctic ice to melt. According to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, this could lead to a sea level rise by about three metres, which would be catastrophic for coastal communities. This study provides the first real geological data on what happened to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in previous warmer periods. Dr Andy Hein from Edinburgh University is part of the team that studied sediments on peaks protruding through ice in the Ellsworth Mountains. Nuclear Fusion experiment German researchers have managed to turn hydrogen gas into plasma for a fraction of a second, starting off a new experiment they hope will pave the way for nuclear fusion. (Photo: Ebola test in a suitcase being used in Guinea Tommy Trenchard / European Mobile Laboratories) Presenter: Jack Stewart Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz Assistant: Jennifer

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