Vaccines & Variants and the mystery of China's elephant march: RAZOR

Vaccines & Variants

Vaccines have been a remarkable success story of the COVID-19 pandemic. A range were rolled out in just a year, with clinical trial data suggesting very high levels of effectiveness against SARS CoV 2 infection. 

However, they have a chink in their armor: variants. At the beginning of 2021, the Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants were all identified, though lab studies showed that only a small degree of vaccine protection was lost in the face of them. 

However, the arrival of the Delta variant, which can mutate into a more severe transmissible virus is causing scientists to fear there may be another more deadly wave of the pandemic to come.


Yunnan elephant trek

Images of a herd of 15 Asian elephants trekking through China's southwestern Yunnan province have gone viral and captured the imagination of the world. Since then, the Chinese government has dispatched a taskforce of 360 people, 76 cars and nine drones to track it. 

Neil Cairns spoke with Becky Shu Chen, from the IUCN Asian Elephant Specialist Group, about why the beasts are making this trek, the challenges of conservation and the need to allocate land for animals and nature in order to preserve the world's biodiversity.

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