Searching for the Silver Bullet: Watch Carte Blanche, this Sunday 17 May 2020 at 19:00, only on M-Net.

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John Webb: “We’re going to be waiting at least a year – probably more – for a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s a long time to be stuck in the so-called ‘new normal’, never sure whether you’re doing enough to avoid infection. But there is hope that the more than 1 300 trials taking place around the world could deliver a treatment or other intervention that could stop the virus or decrease its alarming death rate.”

The Hunt for a Silver Bullet

It’s been more than five months since COVID-19 was first identified. More than 4.26 million cases have been reported – more than 291,000 have ended in death. Is medical science any closer to finding answers that might stop the global suffering? While the holy grail remains a vaccine, that is likely to be 18 to 24 months away. So Carte Blanche unpacks the search for a possible COVID-19 treatment – as thousands of scientists collaborate across borders in hundreds of registered clinical studies – and asks whether desperation might be fueling unwarranted optimism and dodgy science.

Producer & Presenter: John Webb
Research: Laura Byrne
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Lockdown in the Winelands

With around 600 wineries affected by lockdown, the iconic Cape winelands that earn R49 billion for the country annually are bleeding revenue, jobs and prospects. COVID-19 lockdown regulations saw alcohol sales and exports shut down. It came after the harvest was in – it had been a good year with increased volumes and quality. This was supposed to be the time to recover heavy capital investments early in the season and reverse the difficult years of drought. Carte Blanche examines what it will take to recover hope in the industry.

Producer: Liz Fish
Presenter: Claire Mawisa
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W I L D L I F E   I N V E S T I G A T I O N

Cheetah Cheater – The Wildlife Export Trade

Every year, thousands of wild animals are exported out of South Africa and traded to zoos, sold as pets or simply disappear abroad, potentially ending up in meat markets. High on the demand list is one of Africa’s favourite short-distance sprinters – the cheetah. Marketed as the “cat most like a dog”, a King Cheetah can cost up to R1.5 million a pop. Raising a cheetah cub as a pet can lead to its death as its diet is too specialised to easily be accommodated. But that doesn’t put off international buyers. Interpol says the illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion-dollar industry, but overlaying, and probably supporting it, is the legal trade. Carte Blanche investigates.

Producer: Sasha Schwendenwein
Presenter: Derek Watts
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C R E A T I N G   H O P E

Treating Male Infertility

It’s something rarely spoken of and one of society’s longstanding taboos – men who struggle with infertility. Studies show that in over 40 percent of couples attending fertility clinics in South Africa, male infertility lies at the heart of the problem. Abnormal sperm production as a result of medical conditions that can often be reversed – like obesity or drug use – have led experts to agree that with the right intervention, male infertility can be treated. So why are some men so reluctant to seek help?

Producer: Michael Duffet
Presenter: Claire Mawisa
Research: Sinethemba Nogude
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Do note: Carte Blanche line-ups are subject to change. Stories can be viewed at www.carteblanche.co.za