MaryClare writes:

Hello Immune team!

Great coverage of COVID19 immunology, thank you! 

My understanding is that CoV and CoV-2 have a fairly wide tropism, possibly including neurons. I’ve read that the immune response to a coronavirus infection in the CNS can include macrophage-mediated demyelination. Can you explain this? How and why does this happen?

Thanks again! Please keep up the excellent work. There are lots of us out here listening.



Max writes:

Hello Immune team, I have been enjoying your podcast and learning a lot.  Completely hooked to Immune, TWIV, etc.

I have a question about an item mentioned in episode 29 when talking about antibody therapy for COVID-19, particularly use of convalescent plasma.  At around timemark 1 hour 22 minutes, there was discussion of a phenomenon described as “antibody interference.” If I understood this correctly, the potential concern is that giving patients this sort of therapy may ultimately block development of endogenous (patient’s own) antibodies and perhaps (not sure) other aspects of the immune response.  And yes, the risk reward calculus may still go in favor of the therapy, but I was still curious about the potential issue you described.  Could you clarify this please and if possible provide some literature references describing this phenomenon and/or examples?  (searching with the term “antibody interference” led me into a largely bioanalytical direction that is not what you were describing I think).

Since the airing of episode 29 on March 31, the following preprint came out and you may find it interesting.  As I recall, the last author, Arturo Casadevall of Johns Hopkins, was one of the early advocates of this approach in the context of COVID-19.  Though, of course as the hosts of Immune indicated the general idea has been around for many decades if not a full century already.  The link to the medRxiv article, time-stamped May 12th,  is 

Thanks much in advance,


(I am not an immunologist or virologist, but a chemistry-trained scientist in the biotechnology industry)

Jodi writes:


I absolutely love the podcasts, thank you all! Still listening to past episodes so I apologize if this has already been covered…

I have an acquaintance who is most unhappy about the inconveniences of pandemic restrictions.  She has some autoimmune issues and as a result, she sees an immunologist who she says told her the lock-down of society is damaging our immune systems.  She says there will be massive numbers of URIs in the schools this fall because children haven’t been allowed to be exposed to each other.

Can you talk about this?  Would the immune system be damaged or ‘weakened’ in any way by the social restrictions we have implemented? (I think it sounds unlikely but I would never presume to know more than a physician who specializes in immunology.) What are your thoughts about non-COVID disease incidence when society resumes essentially normal operations?  Are our immune systems going to be lacking diversity in response and become overwhelmed by a sudden bombardment of viruses and bacteria undiluted by time, those pathogens we may have been but weren’t exposed to during the time we have been socially restricted?