Lucian writes:

There was some discussion on Immune 30 about the feasibility of driving across the US in about a day. This is a known time trial called the Cannonball Run, and has been done! As you all pointed out, this requires driving for long hours in great excess of speed limits, and so is both very illegal and very, very dangerous. Nonetheless, it’s been done. Here’s a story of one pair of racers from Wired Magazine in 2007:

As always, thank you all for your insights and  humor during these very strange times!


Sophie writes:

Dear Immune,

I am a student in Bi 115 (Virology) at Caltech, and we recently discussed the bat immune system. One thing that I found quite interesting was that bats have to suppress their immune response due to the inflammation caused by their high metabolic activity. Could people with higher metabolism (which I believe is associated with exercise) also have increased inflammation that could lead them to have a suppressed immune system that would allow them to tolerate the virus in a similar manner as to bats? 

Thank you,


Whitney writes:

Hello! My name is Whitney Sloneker, a Bi 115 student from Caltech. I had a few questions based on your Immune 29 podcast. 

You mentioned that enveloped viruses tend to be more unstable than other virus types, but coronaviruses seem to be stronger in that they enter the digestive system. What mechanism would you theorize is responsible? Do you think the differences regarding how IL-2 reacts in these different regions plays a role in ensuring we see stronger symptoms in the lung versus the gut? Are there different levels of SARS-CoV-19 in both regions due to the structure of the virus and does this play a role in the effects we see if present?




Matt writes:


Brianne Barker recently noted there was a third type of immune system, which is distinct from the innate and adaptive systems.

I recall it had something to do with memory  cells. I would love to hear you discuss this on a future episode of This Week in Immunology.

Keep up the great work!

Thanks, Matt in Palo Alto.

Benjamin writes:

Good Afternoon!

It is 62F (about 17C) here in Washington DC. I work in a lab for the department of defense, and while I am not working in Immunology or Virology, your podcasts have encouraged me to look into it.

You have been talking on both TWIV and Immune a lot about the possible lack of sterilizing immunity that could be acquired from the immune response to SARS-CoV-2. What impact would this have on the efficacy of a vaccine? Do vaccines still work (at least through the mechanism of “artificially” increasing herd immunity) if they don’t give sterilizing immunity?

This part probably won’t be on air, but I was also wondering if you knew of anyone doing cool vaccinology/immunology/virology type work in a fish or non-mammalian animal system that you could suggest? I am looking into graduate schools, and any suggestions on labs doing cool research with PIs who would be good advisors would be much appreciated!

Thank you for all of your explanations, and for making all of this information more accessible,


Lizzie writes:

Hello Immune Team! 

I am a healthcare worker currently assigned to care for patients in an ICU designated solely for Covid-19 patients. I work in one of the academic medical centers enrolling “frontline” healthcare workers in a randomized hydroxychloroquine vs placebo study through the HERO trial (link below). I and many of my coworkers are intrigued by the study as a possible opportunity to both get tested for SARS-CoV-2 to see if we are pre-symptomatic and potentially, though not proven, to prevent becoming infected or ill, which is a daily concern for all of us. While I appreciate reading about the possible side effects of hydroxychloroquine including GI upset and QT prolongation arrhythmias, I wanted to do a little more digging of my own before I decided to enroll in the study. 

I found many articles about the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat an array of autoimmune diseases and other non-malaria disease processes. I’m wondering if you all would be interested/ willing to discuss the immunomodulatory effects of taking hydroxychloroquine for a person who is healthy and likely not infected with SARS-CoV-2. I gather from my research that there is quite a bit that happens at the cellular level as the body responds to this drug and I’m curious about these potential “silent” side effects. 

On a side note, I’m a huge fan of TWIV and Immune (as well as the other podcasts) and have been interested in virology since listening to Dr. Racaniello’s Virology lecture series in 2012. I read Spillover by David Quammen in 2015 and his chapter on SARS-CoV-1 has made me fear a corona virus pandemic ever since. As a result, I ended up joining the Communicable Disease Response Unit at my hospital the next year. This is a sort of volunteer unit used for quick mobilization of regularly trained healthcare workers who received additional training for a potential Ebola or MERS outbreak. I owe my personal preparedness for the current crisis we’re facing to the Microbe TV team and can’t thank you enough. I share your podcasts with everyone on my unit and I don’t know what I would have done had I not been able to turn to your podcasts for trusted information. 

Best Wishes, 

Lizzie S.

Jacob writes:

I have enjoyed both your virology and immune podcasts.  They have helped me push my understanding of both subjects to a much higher level.  I recently read a paper on how SARS-Cov-2 infects T cells.  I came across this paper by accident while I was searching on another subject.  The paper is enclosed.  Is this a reasonable explanation of why we are seeing lymphopenia in Covid-19 patients?  I have never heard of the CD 147 receptor.  Do you know what role it normally plays in T cell function?  I have been following this story since January.  I find it very interesting.  It gets more interesting every week.  In your most recent immune podcast a question was asked on the role of proning.  Patients are turned on their stomach every 4 hours to help match blood flow to open alveoli.  This decreases shunting, which is a major cause of hypoxemia.  When lying flat alveoli on the front of the chest are open, but there is less blood because it has pooled in the back.  So you turn the patient over so blood flows to where the alveoli are open.  Then you switch them back.  I am interested in your thoughts on this paper.  Thanks


Jacob W. Kammer, MD, MS,  ABPM-Occupational Medicine, MRO, AME

Assistant Professor of Occupational Medicine, ICOM

St. Alphonsus Medical Group

Boise, Idaho.

Marion writes:

Dear Immune @ Microbe.TV – and the team over there.

I hope this email finds you well. I have been following your organization’s work and want to let more in Asia learn from you. If you have more recent findings do let me know. I want to disseminate only the best of science and medicine in these times.

In partnership with the World Health Organization’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), my medical school has launched two public education initiatives on Covid-19. We have a webinar series that reaches out to doctors and scientists and share the most up-to-date information from medical and research experts on the ground in Singapore – so very real and transparent.

Associate Professor Paul MacAry as the guest speaker He is the Director of Life Sciences Institute and the Chairman of CREATE-HUJ Consortium, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, National University of Singapore. His topic will be “The trinity of COVID-19: Immunity, Inflammation, and Intervention” and exploring • The pathophysiology of COVID-19 • Inflammation and immunity in COVID-19 • Overview of drug and vaccine trials for COVID-19 Join here –

Please feel free to access and share the webinars and also our educational comic strips with whomever you deem relevant and appropriate.


Educational comic strips: and also here

Do keep in contact and let us know what we can do to collaborate with you


Marion Neubronner :: Head, Client Partnerships, Senior Assistant Director, NUS Continuing Education and Training :: Office of the Dean, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine :: National University of Singapore

Steve writes:

Hi Vincent et al,

Good to see these early results from China, on infusing critical CoViD-19 patients (n=5 only) with convalescent plasma.

This reminded me I had been wanting to ask about the business of using antibodies from donor blood in general. I had wondered why antibodies from another person weren’t treated as foreign by our own immune systems, so that we’d make antibodies to the antibodies?

And, following on these new results, and on general testing in the wider population seeming to turn up quite high prevalence of symptom free infection: might it be possible to make transfusions from mixed batches of plasma from recent bloodbank donors, rather than relying on those who had been recently ill (whom blood banks would, presumably, turn down as a rule)?

Also: is it possible for people to be infected with a virus and be neither ill, nor mount an immune reaction–i.e. virus just goes through without gaining entrance to any cells? This way, some people could be ‘immune’ to viral exposure without any evidence of this in their blood?

Hope these aren’t too dumb questions for you and the ‘I Team’.

Wash your hands (scrub under your nails too),

Steve Hawkins

Locked down in Luton UK

(Though, as I’ve been ‘locked down’ essentially‎ since Christmas 2010, the only inconvenient change for me is that there’s no flour for my bread in the online stores!)