I marvelled recently at the news that people in China were being offered ‘inhalable’ COVID vaccines. I do my best to put on a brave face when fronting up for vaccinations, but any needle-free option would, I’ll admit, be most welcome.

These inhalable vaccines work in a similar way to intranasal vaccines, by targeting our “mucosal” immune system. This system includes our body’s defence at the coronavirus’ point of entry, in our nose and throat. In targeting the mucosal immune system, these inhalable and nasal spray vaccines could prevent COVID infections. Though the conventional COVID vaccines do an excellent job of protecting against severe disease, we know they don’t always stop an infection in the first instance. But it’s too early to celebrate just yet, as immunologist Sheena Cruickshank explains.

In the last of our series on research into the wider effects of the pandemic, we look at how access to arts activities during lockdown was a crucial lifeline for many people in Liverpool. And while much of Europe continues to back Ukraine in the current war, Serbia is taking a very different position, showing strong support for Putin and Russia. What’s more, European leaders don’t appear to have taken much notice.

Phoebe Roth

Commissioning Editor, Health + Medicine


COVID: inhalable and nasal vaccines could offer more durable protection than regular shots

Sheena Cruickshank, University of Manchester

These types of vaccines could offer certain advantages over conventional COVID shots. But we need more data to show us they’re effective.

Art installation ‘Liverpool, Love of My Life’ by Chila Kumari Burman, part of the city’s 2021 River of Light trail. Peter Byrne/PA/Alamy

Liverpool’s unsung COVID heroes: how the city’s arts scene became a life support network

Josie Billington, University of Liverpool; Ekaterina Balabanova, University of Liverpool; Joanne Worsley, University of Liverpool

New research shows the region’s arts organisations were a critical source of support for vulnerable people during lockdown

Vladmir Putin is very popular in Serbia. Sasa Dzambic Photography

Ukraine war: Serbia is shifting closer to Russia – here’s why

Andi Hoxhaj, UCL

European leaders have failed to notice how much support Serbia is providing to Russia, an expert says.

Politics + Society

Business + Economy



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