TWiV 406: Pow, right in the enteroids!

September 11, 2016

norovirusHosts: Vincent RacanielloDickson DespommierAlan Dove, Rich Condit, and Kathy Spindler

The TWiV team discusses eye infections caused by Zika virus, failure of Culex mosquitoes to transmit the virus, and replication of norovirus in stem cell derived enteroids.

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5 comments on “TWiV 406: Pow, right in the enteroids!

  1. Elena Pikuta Sep 12, 2016

    Thank you again!

    Yours,

    Russian Microbiologist (with American citizenship) – ha-ha! Really, what is wrong with Americans? Such a fear of Russians…

    Freddy Mercury died from HIV, by the way.

  2. Tom Sethre Sep 14, 2016

    As Kathy says, “Hi guys!”

    Regarding the letter talking about scientists’ results being swayed by pressure from their funding source:

    I was somewhat surprised by Vincent’s rather mild response, saying scientists “shouldn’t” do that. The reality is that pressure from funding sources cannot be ignored.

    The term “pressure” is very evocative … like a coastal wind that’s always blowing … sometimes a light breeze, sometimes a gale. Look at the trees along the shore. Gales may take a few of them out, but all of them are bent or twisted to some degree by the constant breeze.

    That’s what scientists in industry face.

    Money has and will continue to oppose science that threatens profits. These problems are particularly rampant whenever a new (lucrative) product or technology is threatened by reports of health consequences.

    The story of the tobacco industry is the classic example of protecting an industry. The source of the anti-vaccine movement is an example of distorting science to create a new profit source.

    Sadly, we tend to view these events as past history or exceptions, when in fact they are as endemic to commerce as viruses in the sea, microbes in the soil and parasites in the tropics.

    The latest episode in this long-running problem appears in JAMA this week (Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2548255) and was reported by the New York Times on Monday (How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the-sugar-industry-shifted-blame-to-fat.html).

    The JAMA article describes the study as a historical analysis that “uses internal sugar industry documents to describe how the industry sought to influence the scientific debate over the dietary causes of coronary heart disease in the 1950s and 1960s.”

    The New York Times notes that the parties that encouraged and produced the biased results are now all dead, including “D. Mark Hegsted, who went on to become the head of nutrition at the United States Department of Agriculture, where in 1977 he helped draft the forerunner to the federal government’s dietary guidelines.” and “Dr. Fredrick J. Stare, the chairman of Harvard’s nutrition department.”

    The NYT also notes that “Even though the influence-peddling revealed in the documents dates back nearly 50 years, more recent reports show that the food industry has continued to influence nutrition science.”

    Vincent, surely by now you should see this is what’s behind the ongoing problems with the PACE study’s data release that you’ve been so heroically supporting. There’s a substantial amount of money on the table, and nobody wants to be blamed for losing it. You’re walking upwind in a gale.

    As Alan might say, “One could write a book.” Actually, I’d bet that Alan is already aware of any number of books that document how money has suppressed or distorted science, and destroyed the careers of those doing basic research that accidentally stumbled into something that threatened the money.

    Yes, in the long run science will win out, but many will suffer and die too soon to see that day.
    ————————-
    Wow, what a depressing letter. Sorry!

    On a lighter note …

    At 9:00 AM in Austin it’s 82F/27.6C with a dew point of 70F/21C, with clear skies, light winds, and a forecast high of 92F/32C.

    I’ve been cutting other podcasts out of my Stitcher feed to make room for the expanding microbe.tv lineup. I’m starting to think about increasing my $10 monthly Patreon contribution. Maybe I’ll cut back on the breakfast tacos at Rita’s Restaurant.

    Tom in Austin
    Polio Class of ’52.

  3. Anonymous Sep 15, 2016

    RE: Norovirus-Enteroid discussion: Thank you for calling out an ugly side of science, the ultra competitiveness and ego that slows the progress of science. As you highlighted, there is other solid data out there on the cultivation on human noroviruses and rather than trying to establish a single system as superior, researchers should be trying to figure out how all of the pieces of the puzzle fit together.

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