Covid may have taken a back seat for the first time since the pandemic began, but this year’s health news was still a roller-coaster.
So how much do you remember from this turbulent year?
From former Health Secretary Matt Hancock‘s stint on I’m a Celeb to animals’ organs being brought back to life, test your health news knowledge with our quiz.
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock was suspended from the Tory party for going on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!
1. Biotechnology company Moderna became widely known during the pandemic for its mRNA Covid vaccine. But, in January, the Massachusetts-based firm announced the first dose of a vaccine using the same pioneering tech was being trialled for which other virus?
2. The global Covid vaccination programme, which began in 2020, reached a milestone of how many doses in January?
3. From February, doctors in Canada could prescribe patients a year-long pass to National Parks to see breathtaking scenery. What was the purpose of prescribing these passes?
4. At which NHS trust did a report find that 295 baby deaths and cases of brain damage, and the deaths of more than a dozen women, could have been avoided with better care?
5. The UK Government brought in a change to eating out in April, as part of its ongoing fight to tackle the obesity epidemic. What was it?
6. Which drugs did pharmacists suggest should be rationed in April amid shortages caused by a surge in demand referred to as the ‘Davina McCall effect’?
7. Google searches for ‘get a vasectomy’ reached an all-time high in June this year this year in which country? The surge in searches aligned with a two- to three-fold increase in the number of people requesting the procedure.
This year a surge in demand for a drug was referred to as the ‘Davina McCall effect’ because of the celebrity’s campaigning on the issue
8. The UKHSA declared a national incident of polio this year after the disease was found in sewage in which city? Poliovirus can cause paralysis in unvaccinated people but was declared eradicated in 2015.
9. The case of Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in the US. But it was overturned this year by the Supreme Court, giving states the power to ban terminations. In what year was the original ruling?
10. Scientists at Yale University pumped an experimental substance into the veins of dead animals. It successfully brought cells in their organs back to life. Which animal was the therapy tested on?
11. Scotland became the first country in the world to make which product free for all? The move followed a six-year campaign from Labour MSP Monica Lennon in a battle against poverty.
12. The longest surviving heart transplant patient in the UK, Steven Syer, died in August but for how many years did he survive after receiving his new heart?
13. An embryo was grown and ‘born’ in a lab without the use of a sperm, egg or womb at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. But what type of embryo was it?
14. Princess Anne visited Uganda in October as there were calls for a lockdown in its capital city Kampala. But which disease was the country rocked by an outbreak of at the time?
Princess Anne speaks as she officially opens a branch of the Opportunity Bank in Nakivale refugee settlement, in southwestern Uganda, in October
15. Global diagnoses of which Victorian respiratory disease rose for the first time in two decades in October?
16. In October, a new institute in California was opened to study the nature, biology and therapeutic benefits of a bodily fluid in order to ‘harness its power’. What fluid was it?
17. Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock was suspended from the Tory party for going on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! in November. Which cause did he claim he was there to raise awareness of?
18. Which virus, that saw an outbreak this year, did the World Health Organization say would be renamed as its original name ‘plays into racist and stigmatising language’?
19. Alcoholics are to be given which drug after a study found it, combined with therapy, appeared to help 86 per cent of patients studied stay sober for six months?
20. Which famous singer in December revealed they had been suffering from an incurable neurological disorder that can eventually turn patients into ‘human statues’?
1. HIV. The company announced that experts at George Washington University (GWU) School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C, had given the first doses of an experimental HIV vaccine. It works using the same logic as the Covid jab except it teaches the immune system to target the HIV virus, not SARS-CoV-2.
2. A billion. The COVAX global vaccine-sharing programme was revealed to have delivered one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses in January. Supplies to poorer nations were limited but the last quarter of 2021 saw shipments increase, which helped to reach the milestone.
3. To improve mental and physical health. Medical research has proved that exposure to nature has positive health benefits. Patients in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario are eligible for the Parks Canada passes but it is hoped it will eventually be rolled out nationally.
The COVAX global vaccine-sharing programme was revealed to have delivered one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses in January
4. Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust. An inquiry published in March found the trust presided over catastrophic failings between 2003 and present day, resulting in the avoidable deaths of 201 babies and nine mothers.
5. Calories on menus. From April 6 restaurants, cafes and takeaways with more than 250 staff had to print how many calories were in each dish on their in-store, delivery and takeaway menus. The Government said this was to tackle high levels of obesity and encourage people to make healthier choices.
6. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Women were told they could only be prescribed three months worth of HRT at a time to ease pressure on the supply chain. HRT saw a surge in demand after Davina McCall made a TV programme about how life-changing the drug was for women going through the menopause.
7. The US. In June the trend for the search reached all-time ‘peak popularity’ and was almost double the last time it peaked in September 2021. This followed the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
8. London. Routine surveillance of wastewater at the Beckton sewage treatment works, which covers north and east London, in February, found evidence of the vaccine-derived poliovirus.
An inquiry found Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust presided over catastophic failings between 2003 and present day, resulting in the avoidable deaths of 201 babies and nine mothers
9. 1973. The ruling in the 1970s saw abortion made legal. But in June, the Supreme Court voted in favour of Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks. This effectively overturned the constitutional right to an abortion and meant the decision was now up to individual states.
10. Pigs. Yale researchers successfully brought some dead pigs’s organs back to life using a blood substitute – which included compounds to suppress blood clotting meaning it slowed decomposition. The pigs were not actually brought back to life but scientists hope to one day be able to use it to preserve the organs of deceased people for transplants.
11. Sanitary products. There is now a legal duty on local authorities to provide free items such as tampons and sanitary pads in Scotland to ‘anyone who needs them’. The move is in a bid to end period poverty.
12. 38 years. Mr Syer, who lived in Gloucester, died a month after his 80th birthday following a short illness. He was one of the early heart transplant patients in the UK, which he received in 1984 at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex.
13. A mouse. The embryo was created using just stem cells. It grew a tail on day six, a beating heart on day eight and even the beginnings of a brain. The success of creating organs in a petri dish was described as ‘wild and remarkable’.
14. Ebola. The first case was recorded in the district of Mubende and on September 20 the health authorities in Uganda declared an outbreak. By October there were calls for lockdowns in the country’s capital to stem the spread.
Steve Syer (pictured), who lived in Gloucester, died a month after his 80th birthday following a short illness. He was one of the early heart transplant patients in the UK, which he received in 1984 at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex
15. Tuberculosis. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10.6million people were diagnosed with the TB in 2021, a 4.5 per cent rise on the year before. TB was called ‘the quintessential disease of poverty’ by president of the TB Alliance Mel Spigelman.
16. Breast milk. The Human Milk Institute, in San Diego, will trial breast milk as therapy for chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer. Decades of research has shown human milk strengthens babies’ brains, immune systems and bones, but the lab’s work will also explore its effect in adults.
17. Dyslexia. Mr Hancock vowed to use his ‘incredible platform’ to talk about the learning difficulty. He was slammed for not mentioning it until two weeks into the reality show.
18. Monkeypox. The virus will be renamed mpox but both names will be used for one year until monkeypox is phased out.
19. Ketamine. Researchers at The University of Exeter found the drug was safe and tolerable for alcoholics and helped many stay sober. The Ketamine for Reduction of Alcohol Relapse (Kare) trial will now move to the next stage of development.
20. Celine Dion. In a tearful video in December, Celine revealed she was suffering from stiff person syndrome. A disorder which causes muscle spasms so violent they can break bones.