New Scientist’s predictions for the big science stories of 2022

A technician uses a multi-channel pipette dropper to dispense liquid material inside the Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines Ltd. laboratory facility in Cape Town, South Africa, on Monday, July 12, 2021. The??World Health Organization announced it will establish its first-ever mRNA technology transfer hub in Cape Town in an agreement with??Afrigen??and the??Biovac Institute. Photographer: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg via Getty Images

HELLO and welcome to the first issue of 2022 – and our predictions of what the year ahead holds. This magazine went to press as the omicron variant of the coronavirus was on the rise. As the pandemic enters its third calendar year, we look at the likely evolution of further variants and the need for yet more boosters in the next 12 months.

Thankfully, news is cheerier elsewhere. The mRNA technology used in the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines has gone from experimental to essential in record time, and researchers are investigating whether it can be used to treat everything …