586 episodes

Coronacast is a podcast that answers your questions about coronavirus. We break down the latest news and research to help you understand how the world is living through a pandemic.

Coronacast ABC Podcasts

    • News
    • 5.0 • 24 Ratings

Coronacast is a podcast that answers your questions about coronavirus. We break down the latest news and research to help you understand how the world is living through a pandemic.

    Omicron's latest clues are a bit concerning

    Omicron's latest clues are a bit concerning

    It's been a bit more than a week since we learned of Omicron, the newest coronavirus variant of concern.

    And while we're still a while from knowing solid answers, the world's scientists have done an amazing job over the last 7 days unraveling parts of Omicron's mysteries.

    The three big questions are will our vaccines continue to work? For people who do get the virus, will it be severe and will it beat Delta to become the coronavirus champion of the world?

    So on today's Coronacast, what we know from the latest science about answering those big questions.

    Also on today's show

    * Does it escape previous immunity and/or our vaccines?

    * Is it better at spreading than Delta?

    * Does it matter? Does it make you sicker than previous variants?

    * Where's Dr Norman Swan's Omicronometer of Panic heading?

    • 12 min
    Pfizer, Moderna, au naturale? What works best!

    Pfizer, Moderna, au naturale? What works best!

    Just like we're likely going to be stuck with COVID for the rest of our lives, we're probably also going to be stuck wondering which is the most effective vaccine to protect against it.

    Well lucky we've got science to help sort it out, with a new study putting the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines head-to-head across hundreds of thousands of people.

    And other scientists have been busy working out how much protection you have against reinfection, if you are infected in the first place.

    Also on today's show:

    * Quick Fire Friday

    * Tegan interrupts Quick Fire Friday with her own - excellent - Quick Fire Question.

    • 9 min
    Can Omicron evade our vaccines?

    Can Omicron evade our vaccines?

    As the days tick by since Omicron was discovered, it's slowly spreading around the world.

    One example is reports of a couple of Israeli doctors who likely picked up Omicron in the United Kingdom, before flying back home.

    Their symptoms are said to be mild at the moment, but more worryingly, both of the doctors were fully vaccinated with Pfizer - that's all three doses.

    So what do we know about how Omicron works with our current vaccines?

    Also on today's show:

    * If we have been vaccinated to recognise the spike protein, why are variants so concerning? Is it the spike that changes?

    • 10 min
    Do we really know yet if Omicron is "milder"?

    Do we really know yet if Omicron is "milder"?

    Nearly two years into the global coronavirus pandemic, it's probably safe to say that we're all pretty much ready for it to be done.

    So no wonder we're hoping that very early reports from South Africa are possibly, just maybe, indicating that the Omicron variant is "milder" than variants before.

    But how much evidence is there for that yet? Is it true, or just wishful thinking?

    Also on today's show:

    * Is it possible that the emergence of this variant is actually an encouraging development for the COVID pandemic?

    * No big changes yet for Australia's international borders

    * The Omicron variant mutation that might end up helping us (a bit)

    * In previous episodes you have mentioned that variants can "out compete" other variants. What exactly does this mean and what is the mechanism behind it?

    * An update to the Dr Norman Swan Omicronometer of Panic

    • 10 min
    The three theories of Omicron's origin

    The three theories of Omicron's origin

    As the world desperately awaits news from scientists on anything Omicron, some experts have started thinking about where the variant might have come from.

    One theory is that it's from someone severely immunocompromised, where the virus has had millions of opportunities to evolve against a poor immune response.

    But it's far from the only theory.

    So on today's Coronacast, a few other possibilities of where - and when - Omicron might have popped into existence.

    Also on today's show:

    * The evolutionary lineage of Omicron

    * How should Australia be preparing?

    * The Dr Norman Swan Omicronometer of Panic is born

    • 11 min
    Hello Omicron. Goodbye Delta?

    Hello Omicron. Goodbye Delta?

    It's the news we didn't want: There's a new variant of concern in town and it's got all sorts of mutations just where you don't want them.

    It's also got a new fancy name: Omicron, and it's reportedly outpacing Delta in countries in southern Africa.

    But is it really? Is it more infectious? Is it more virulent? Is it vaccine resistant, and if so by how much? How much do we really know at the moment? Should I panic?

    Also on today's show:

    * What if the Omicron variant is the sort epidemiologists expected to see earlier in the pandemic: highly transmissible and less virulent?

    • 13 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
24 Ratings

24 Ratings

hikingPJ ,

I love this podacast!

I have listened to every episode and I find it interesting and informing. 10 minutes once a day and I feel on top of the information! Thanks from western Canada!

wildrover1956 ,


Indispensable !!
I mean that.
Australia centric of course, but the majority of the information is transferable to anywhwere on the planet.
I'm trying to get to WA to see my kids. It's a bit of a nightmare. Hows about some insights into what it's like for people returning to australia ? ( I've been waiting for the right time for months now and it just hasn't happened ) Great show, love it and reccomend it !!

BlackMacX ,

A helpful, wise voice in these uncertain times

The ABC RN podcast is both well presented, honest and downplays the hysteria that many people seem to ascribe to COVID-19. Tegan Taylor and Dr. Norman Swan represent a gold standard for how to present facts and evidence for all to understand. Keep it up.


Anthony (A Health Report listener for over a decade too)

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