Melissa writes:

Good morning, TWiV Team.

I was wondering if Dickson would be able to direct me to where I can get a copy of his book, West Nile Story?

Thank you,


Duke Human Vaccine Institute  

Nele writes:

Dear all,

in TWIV1073 you discussed that no ethics committee would agree to a study where infected animals are fed to another species to demonstrate virus transmission through carnivorism.

I remembered that Thijs Kuiken from ErasmusMC once told me about a study that he had conducted that included infecting chickens with avian influenza viruses and feeding them to cats (see link to paper).

Greetings from a constantly rainy Göttingen in Germany



Brian writes:


So enjoyed the discussion of  Marek’s disease virus and fitness. Thank you.

Perhaps the discussion of fitness struggles because we confuse a selection force, such as competition, and selection outcome, such as more virions produced.

All selection outcomes are, by definition, fitness-related. Both selection and fitness are defined as differential reproductive success, i.e. one genome gaining presence in the next generation.

Selection forces are, of course, different. As a selection force, virulence acts on hosts. If it involves a metabolic cost to the virus, then increased metabolism is the selection force.

However, there may be more than just selection, even drift, here. The tetraproline level’s gradual (ratchet-like) reduction results in more virulence. It may be this repeat sequence is unstable, or especially mobile, or is difficult for the Meq domain to maintain because of its ionic/electrostatic aspects. Over time, it’s maintenance may require selection, not its loss.

One cannot say selection has caused the ratchet if the ratchet is entropic.


April writes:

Hi TWIV team,

The reason people are asking about preeclampsia is that many medical professionals in hospitals are not treating pregnant people for preeclampsia until it’s life-threatening because of the laws against abortion. Many pregnant people who have pregnancy complications and want to have their baby are being turned away from hospitals because medical professionals are afraid of prosecution.


Anthony writes:

There is significant international trade in live chickens:

This reflects from production through Heterosis, resulting in a pyramidal structure of the global industry.



Tatiana writes:

Dear TWIV team,

My name is Tatiana Murillo and I am an Instructor and Junior Researcher at the Virology Section of the Faculty of Microbiology of the University of Costa Rica. I would like to thank you for keeping me updated in virology news and scientific publications which has been very useful for my classes. Also, thanks to TWIV, I was able to hear about the ASV Global Scholarship award for which I applied and got it! 😀 So now I will be able to attend ASV 2024.

Keep up the good work and the advocacy for vaccination.

Muchas gracias y pura vida,


Dra. Tatiana Murillo Corrales, Ph.D

Universidad de Costa Rica

Odie writes:

Weekly listener of TWIV.

I’m a layperson but closely follow TWIV and covid developments. I have several risk factors for covid, including asthma and obesity. I also have a child with the same risk factors. Both fully vaccinated of course. We are still covid conscious and mask indoors in public – and only see family indoors with testing and hepa filters. These days, we seem to be the only ones taking these precautions. As experts, are you still recommending masking in public? Doesn’t it make sense to do so for those at high risk? My primary concern is not the acute infection but long covid – for which there is no real treatment. So basically, avoiding it like the plague 😉

Would love to hear your thoughts on masking and testing (and how you make these decisions in your personal lives as well as what you recommend to patients).



Kate writes:

Hi Vincent,

Adding to the discussion of measles, vaccines, and getting vaccinated if you can.

The MMR is a live virus vaccine and thus contraindicated in immunocompomised patients. This creates a double whammy— these patient can’t get vaccinated and if they get measles are likely to become very, very sick. 

So —they depend on those around them to be vaccinated , to create that “herd immunity “ that keeps them safe.

As a mother of a child with a liver transplant—-  thanks to everyone that does get vaccinated! It really matters and you are protecting more than just your own health.


Charles writes:

Hello TWiVers;

Some interesting picks from TWiV 1081.

For Dickson’s pick I have a suggestion for those of you who have birthdays before 1960 and grew up in the New York or Philadelphia areas, as my partner Marie did.  It is a documentary about the automats, Horn & Hardart in particular:

I grew up in Kentucky and had no experience with automats beyond the movies.  Marie’s grandmother would take her to Horn & Hardart on occasion and she had fond memories.

As a computer programmer, I have great interest in AI.  I am not an AI expert.  I hope you find one to interview, sorry I cannot help with that effort.  As noted AI is here to stay and it can be a powerful tool.  As with most tools it can be and will be abused.  Also as noted it takes some skill to get good results.  For a while now I have been saying there will be a new job created by AI.  The new job will be “AI Whisperer”.  I think Brianne was on the edge of saying something like this.

As a poor writer, AI can be of great assistance to me.  Banning it for students I think would be counterproductive.  Let people use the tools that they will have access to in the real world in the classroom, after they have a basic understanding of the subject.  Think how crazy it would be to try to ban calculators today.



You may like this version from the Google AI, Bard better:

Hey TWiV Family,

Dickson’s pick on automats sparked a nostalgic memory lane trip for me (and probably some of you)! If you, like my partner Marie, grew up in pre-1960 New York or Philly, this documentary about Horn & Hardart’s iconic automats will bring back warm, clinking-nickel memories:

Speaking of technology, as a programmer, I’m fascinated by AI. While no expert myself, I’d love to see TWiV interview someone who is! AI’s here to stay, a powerful tool like any, but one that needs skilled handling. And speaking of skills, I predict a new AI-driven job: the “AI Whisperer,” someone who bridges the gap between humans and these complex machines. Brianne, did you catch a glimpse of this future too?

Now, as someone who wrestles with words for a living, AI’s potential to assist writing is huge. Banning it from classrooms? I think that’s like outlawing calculators! Let students learn alongside the tools they’ll encounter in the real world, once they’ve grasped the fundamentals.

Thanks for sparking these thoughts, TWiV crew! Keep the fascinating picks coming!