World vs Virus podcast

World vs Virus is a weekly podcast that helps to answer your questions about COVID-19. We look at the latest news, research, and analysis to break down what you need to know about the global coronavirus pandemic.

You can listen for free here, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.

Episode 16

The story so far

A look back on the pandemic to date, featuring interviews with, among others, Gita Gopinath and David Miliband. What have we learned and what’s next?

Released: 9July, 2020

Episode 15

Pollution and the pandemic - why poor air quality made things worse

Mounting evidence suggests people who live with polluted air are more likely to catch and die from COVID-19. WHO’s Dr Maria Neira tells us why we need a cleaner economy as we rebuild from lockdown, and The Clean Air Fund’s Jane Burston says pressure for change will come from the people.

Released: 25 June, 2020

Episode 14

Race, racism and COVID-19 with Devi Sridhar

Why are people of colour more likely to catch and die from COVID-19? Devi Sridhar, Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, gives us her view, and also tells us why the as-yet unknown long-term consequences of the virus for survivors could make COVID-19 ‘our generation’s polio’.

Released: 18 June, 2020

Episode 13

Impact on Africa, with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

She served as finance minister under two Nigerian presidents, rose through the ranks of the World Bank to become managing director, and now chairs the board of the global vaccine alliance GAVI. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala tells us her concerns about the continuing spread of COVID-19 across Africa and the devastating impact an economic contraction would have on years of development. Also in this episode, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet talks about the links between COVID-19 and race and inequality - and also on how police and governments must deploy an intelligent, sensitive response to unrest.

Released: 11 June, 2020

Episode 12

The Great Reset

This week the World Economic Forum and HRH Prince of Wales launched the Great Reset - a project to bring the world's best minds together to seek a better, fairer, greener, healthier planet as we rebuild from the pandemic. The podcast includes contributions from IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva, labour representative Sharan Burrow and the leaders of Microsoft, Mastercard and BP.

Episode 11

Niall Ferguson - A historian's view

In January, Stanford historian and author Niall Ferguson saw the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan for what it was - a pandemic in the making. But what can history teach us about recovery and the road ahead?

Released: 29 May, 2020

Released: 4 June, 2020

Episode 10

Gita Gopinath

The 'Great Lockdown' that is ravaging the global economy is quite unlike the financial crash of 2008 and requires a different and even bigger response, the IMF Chief Economist says. Also: a survey of 350 business leaders reveals what they see as the biggest risks from the pandemic in the next 18 months.

Released: 21 May, 2020

Episode 9

Gaming and esports - winning gold in the COVID shutdown

With sports in lockdown, online gaming is enjoying a bonanza. Will esports replace physical games in the long term? And why were gamers better prepared than the rest of us to weather the pandemic? Plus: the race for a virus - we hear from companies on the scientific front line.

Released: 14 May, 2020

Episode 8

What should we tell the kids? Children quiz a doctor on COVID-19

What would a child ask a doctor about coronavirus? On this week’s World Vs Virus, Dr Ranj Singh, who presents BBC TV show Get Well Soon, takes questions from a panel of youngsters, and shares tips on how best to talk to children about the pandemic.

Released: 7 May, 2020

Episode 7


The Spanish Flu of 1918

It infected one-third of the world’s population and killed 50 million people, but for most of us the Spanish Flu is little more than a footnote of history. Author and science journalist Laura Spinney tells us what we have still to learn from from the 20th Century's worst pandemic.

Released: 30 April, 2020

Episode 6

Can climate action survive COVID-19? Jennifer Morgan from Greenpeace tells us it can, and must

Jennifer Morgan, head of Greenpeace International, says why the fight against climate change must not be considered an unaffordable luxury as we struggle with COVID-19. And Yale's happiness professor, Laurie Santos, gives her tips on mental wellbeing

Released: April 23, 2020

Episode 5

Coping with working from home – tips from an organizational psychologist

Bestselling author Adam Grant has advice for employers and employees on coping with COVID-19 lockdown, finding JOMO (the joy of missing out), and how we might achieve 'post-traumatic growth'

Released: April 16, 2020

Episode 4

No Refuge: The world's most vulnerable

How are poorer countries facing up? We speak to David Miliband of the International Rescue Committee, and hear from Bangladesh and a Somali refugee. Also: a pastor, a rabbi and a mullah walk into a Zoom chat; and listen to what COVID-19 sounds like.

Released: April 9, 2020

Episode 3

Battleground: New York

Doctor and bestselling author Matt McCarthy shows us life on the front line in New York City. Also: a submariner shares his tips for surviving lockdown.

Released: April 2, 2020

Episode 2

Numbers Game: How long is a lockdown?

The World Health Organization tells us how long is a lockdown, and YouTuber Molly Burke describes living under the threat of COVID-19 when you're blind.

Released: March 26, 2020

Episode 1

Unprecedented: The economic impact of COVID-19

Economist Nouriel Roubini explains why the economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus will be different than anything we have seen before, and a mental health expert gives tips on staying sane.

Released: March 20, 2020