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Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The Invisible Enemy (S2021EP1 BBC Four Tues 28 Dec 2021)

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The Invisible Enemy: Professor Jonathan Van-Tam dives into the microworld of viruses, revealing how these invisible invaders can infect our bodies and how a revolution in testing may transform medicine forever. With the help of immunologist Professor Katie Ewer and virologist Professor Ravi Gupta, this action-packed lecture reveals the inner workings of the virus by blowing it up and inviting the audience to take part in a heist mission. Can they hijack our cell machinery to replicate? Up against the virus is our immune system, designed to fight back. We also dive into a nose to uncover the wonders of snot and whittle down the winner of a game of antibody bingo to crack how our immune system can defeat this invisible enemy.

One of the most impressive scientific advances of the past two years has been the development of new testing techniques in our battle against Covid-19. We peel back the mysteries of PCR, hack into a super-sized lateral flow and show how modern diagnostic technology could shape the future of medicine.

The Christmas Lectures are the most prestigious event in the Royal Institution’s calendar, dating from 1825 when Michael Faraday founded the series. They are the world’s longest-running science television series and always promise to inspire and amaze each year through explosive demonstrations and interactive experiments with a live theatre audience.

Airdate: Tues 28 Dec 2021 at 20:00 on BBC Four

Season 2021 Episode 1

Each year a renowned name in the world of education leads a series of televised lectures all around one topic.