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Why COVID-19 poses a special risk during pregnancy, and how hair can split steel

Science Podcast
three frames of close-ups of hair follicle and razor blade with podcast symbol overlay
Roscioli et al., Science 2020

Staff Writer Meredith Wadman joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the risk of the novel coronavirus infection to pregnant women. Early data suggest expectant women are more likely to get severe forms of the infection and require hospitalization. Meredith describes how the biology of pregnancy—such as changes to the maternal immune system and added stress on the heart and lungs—might explain the harsher effects of the virus.

Also this week, Sarah talks with Gianluca Roscioli about his experiments with commercial razor blades and real human hair. By using a scanning electron microscope, he was able to show how something relatively soft like hair is able to damage something 50 times harder like stainless steel.

This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.

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[Image: G. Roscioli et al., Science; Music: Jeffrey Cook]