TWiV 164: Six steps forward, four steps back

January 1, 2012

xmrvHosts: Vincent RacanielloRich Condit, and Alan Dove

Vincent, Alan, and Rich review ten compelling virology stories of 2011.

Click the arrow above to play, or right-click to download TWiV 164 (60 MB .mp3, 99 minutes).

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Ten virology stories of 2011:

  1. XMRV, CFS, and prostate cancer (TWiV 119, 123, 136, 150)
  2. Influenza H5N1, ferrets, and the NSABB (TWiV 159)
  3. The Panic Virus (TWiV 117)
  4. Polio eradication (TWiV 127, 149)
  5. Viral oncotherapy (TWiV 124, 131, 142, 156)
  6. Hepatitis C virus (TWiV 130, 137, 141)
  7. Zinc finger nuclease and HIV therapy (TWiV 144)
  8. Bacteria help viruses (TWiV 154)
  9. Human papillomaviruses (TWiV 126)
  10. Combating dengue with Wolbachia (TWiV 115, 147)

Links for this episode:

Weekly Science Picks

Rich – Fundamentals of Molecular Virology by Nicholas H. Acheson
AlanFetch, with Ruff Ruffman
Vincent – Year end reviews at Rule of 6ix and Contagions

Listener Pick of the Week

GarrenTrillion-frame-per-second video
Judi – iBioMagazine
Ricardo –
Brain Picking’s 11 best science books of 2011

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6 comments on “TWiV 164: Six steps forward, four steps back

  1. “Vincent: You see there are some issues with the Science paper – as we’ve discussed. I am just hoping Ian can get around those issues. Do you understand what I am saying?

    Alan: Yes. As I understand it these samples are going to be coded and blinded by somebody who has not been involved with any of this XMRV story to date and that that coding system would be kept confidential presumably with robust security – because you know there are people that have been involved with this story who are now in Lipkin’s lab or closely associated with it – so this has got to be done very very carefully and hopefully that will be the case.

    Vincent: Right…” Are you, Alan Dove and Prof. Racaniello, implying you think Mikovits and/or others on the Lombardi paper lied about the results or blinding?  I think circumspection is a natural human reaction to the allegations of theft that have been made against Dr. Mikovits  (my impression is that she was at least out of line, maybe worse, but I think we need to wait for all the evidence in those cases to come out before we make final conclusions).And this rigorous study by Lipkin won’t be believed by you, you say, if the results confirm the Lombardi paper- the burden is on them, not the other less rigorous studies.You guys do make some good points.  There are multiple lines of evidence against XMRV infecting humans in vivo.  However, your assumptions and conclusions about the “pro-HGRV” scientists seem to me to be biased once again as compare to your conclusions about the “anti-HGRV” scientists and your silence on the outright fraudulent ‘scientists’ involved in XMRV and in ME science in general- eg CDC, Wessely school including McClure.  There is some circumstantial evidence of potential ‘sketchiness’ re Mikovits and you have no problem assuming the worst (which is a normal human reaction), but why the double standard when it comes to the “other side” – the proven frauds who wage war on ME science?  I have asked this numerous times and don’t get an answer.  I appreciate that you published David Tuller’s piece on CDC, but that’s all you’ve done.  In this podcast you mentioned that he wrote the piece but you didn’t mention that it’s another documentation of the fake science done on ME by CDC.  This seems biased to me.

  2. Anita Jan 4, 2012

    If it bothers you so much that $1 bucks was used for a grant on Chronic Fatigue maybe we could just consider it “part” of the money that CDC got to study CFS and fibromyalgia and they “lost” somewhere along the way! 

  3. Hi guys, great wrap-up.  You brought up the idea of a shorter version of TWIV for a wider audience for radio.  I wonder if it would work if after you taped a full TWIV, you did a 5 minute highlight of one of the interesting pieces you talk about in the podcast, instead of covering everything.  You could start with a 5 minute explanation of the ferret flu paper and what it means for science and science publishing.  Then go from there?  You could model it after SkyWatch, a show from the Baltimore NPR station.  (

    Might work and then you could push it to local NPR stations too.