TWiV 12: Prions, lemur lentiviruses, RS virus vaccine, H5N1

December 21, 2008

Host: Vincent Racaniello (Wikipedia entry, and photo with Hilary Koprowski)

Guests: Alan Dove and Angela Rasmussen

Vincent, Alan, and Angela discuss Kuru, prions in milk, ancient lentiviruses found in the chromosomes of lemurs, a respiratory syncytial virus vaccine failure in the 1960s, and recent outbreaks of H5N1 influenza in chickens.

Click the arrow above to play, or right-click to download TWiV #12 (30.8 MB .mp3,  44 minutes)

Subscribe (free): iTunesRSSemail

Links for this episode:

  • Episode transcript (pdf) – Thanks, Gertrude!
  • D. Carleton Gajdusek obituary in the NY Times. We forgot to mention that he won the 1976 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on Kuru.
  • PLoS Pathogens article on prions in sheep milk.
  • PNAS article on endogenous lemur lentivirus
  • Nature Medicine article on the failed respiratory syncytial virus vaccine.
  • December 18 was the 100th anniversary of the discovery of poliovirus.

Science podcast pick of the week: Skepticality.
Science book of the week: Science Fictions: A Scientific Mystery, a Massive Cover-up and the Dark Legacy of Robert Gallo by John Crewdson.

Send your virology questions and comments to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *