Chris writes:

There have been a couple of studies that looked at SARS CoV2 virus variants arising in patients that couldn’t completely clear the infection. Could this be a method to explore how a virus is likely to evolve to escape an immune response? Maybe an immunosuppressed model that mounted an insufficient immune response could be developed and then sequence the virus genomes over time to see which variants begin to dominate? Maybe this could be a way to see where an influenza strain is headed before it gets there and cut it off at the pass?

Listener since 2015 starting with TWiM. Electrical Engineer from Denver.

Patreon supporter.

Chris M

Raf writes:

Hello TWiEVO,

I’m a listener of all podcasts, but have done some grad school work on molecular evolution. Besides being an engineer and bioinformatics scientist, I am also an artist. Much of my work is inspired by my technical and biological training. I wanted to share a piece of art I created, titled “Evolution”. It depicts a progression from a molecular soup to a rather modern fish. It took a long time… It is drawn with an ink artist’s pen in a fan-like notebook with 24 individual pages. I was given the book on my birthday in 2017.


Ink pen. 88 by 6.25 inches. 

  • Follow the evolution from the chaotic soup on the right to the critter on the left… <—|
  • Started October 9th, 2018. Finished March 13th, 2020. A bit over 17 months. 

Large images of page progressions and final, complete image are on my Flickr site. I include a small image of the book and complete picture below.


Thanks for all your super interesting podcasts. It helps me get through the day. Working from home and coding all day… 

Best Regards,



Raf Podowski, Ph.D

Jennifer writes:

Greetings TWiEVO!

   I am a huge fan of TWIEVO AND Microbe tv. I am an RN mom of two boys ages 11 and 9 currently homeschooling through this pandemic.

   We were recently researching Charles Darwin. My 11 year old son came across some information which we thought kind of debunks the popular held belief of “survival of the fittest”. My son’s research found that Darwin actually said that adaptability to change was what determines the survival a life form.

  Obviously we need to read all of Darwin’s writings to know whether this is true. We were hoping that maybe you have some insight on this topic. 

    Thanks for the engaging and fascinating work that you are doing and for sharing it! It is enlightening and greatly appreciated!



                         pediatric nurse in RI

Fernando writes:

Hi Nels and Vincent,

I sent the message below to TWiV, but given their heavy mail bag, it’s likely queued for some time in 2022 🙂 Nevertheless, I feel it is relevant to the discussion of SARS-CoV-2 recombination in TWiEVO, which I just finished listening to on my Saturday morning walk (the weather on the North Sonoma coast in California is gray overcast after overnight rain, light wind from the West, 56 F). In brief, a Portuguese teenager without known pre-existing conditions had two COVID-19 episodes with two genomic variants, and the genomic evidence suggests that the two variants coexisted for some time (link:

Thank you for shining the critical light of evolution on the latest (and sometimes panicky) COVID-19 news.

— F

———- Forwarded message ———

From: Fernando

Hi TWiV crew,

I still follow the press from my home country, Portugal, although I’ve lived in the US longer than I lived there. The daily “Público” that I subscribe to had an intriguing story yesterday (in Portuguese) about the case study of a 17-year old who had a very long COVID-19 episode with two peaks, and was shown to carry two different SARS-CoV-2 variants concurrently. The case study is on medXriv. My question is, could such double infections enable recombinations that accelerate the emergence of multi-mutation variants like the infamous B.1.1.7 lineage?

Thank you for teaching me most of the little I know about virology and immunology in over one decade of faithful listening. As a former professor, I deeply admire your skill and persistence in teaching without talking down to the class, making it fun, natural, and human. 

Best wishes for a vaccinated 2021!

— Fernando