Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, Alan Dove, Rich Condit, and Kathy Spindler
The esteemed doctors of TWiV review a new giant virus recovered from the Siberian permafrost, why influenza virus gain of function experiments are valuable, and feline immunodeficiency virus.
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Download TWiV 354 (87 MB .mp3, 122 min)
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Links for this episode
- Non-viral proteins in vaccinia virus particles (Arch Virol) 8:15
- Thing a week (Jonathan Coulton, downloads) 23:20
- Immortal Life pornographic? Not! (HuffPost) 25:25
- Mollivirus sibericum (PNAS) 27:00
- Don’t worry about Frankenvirus (WashPost) 27:10
- We need flu GOF research (article, Wisc State J, Science) 40:35
- Isolation of FIV (Science) 50:20
- FIV at Cornell Vet 1:06:25
- FIV latency (Retrovirol) 1:08:00
- FIV-receptor interactions (Curr Op Virol) 1:08:45
- Clin aspects FIV infection (Viruses)
- FIV antivirals (Viruses) 1:10:05
- How to treat FIV 1:10:45
- Bud’s FIV therapy 1;10;50
- FIV vectors (CSH Prot) 1:13:50
- Lion FIV (Proc Biol Sci)
- FIV in cat species (J Virol) 1;01;45
- ACIP HVP vaccine recommendations (MMWR) 1:28:45
- HPV and cancer (CDC) 1:33:45
- Cervical cancer screening (pdf, CDC)
- Letters read on TWiV 354 7:45, 1:17:10
This episode is sponsored by ASMGAP 5:45
Timestamps by Jennifer. Thanks!
Weekly Science Picks 1:40:40
Alan – Experience Curiosity
Rich – Primrose School
Kathy – Egg drop solutions
Dickson – Dragonflies by Pieter van Dokkum
Vincent – NASA guide to air-filtering houseplants
Listener Pick of the Week
Amir – Publons (Nature article)
Send your virology questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear TWiV Team,
hereby I want to inform you of a little flaw in your knowledge about Ötzi the iceman.
This summer I visited the museum where Ötzi is stored in a cooling chamber and saw him with my own eyes through a 25×25 square centimeter big window. This museum is in Bolzano, the capitol of South Tyrol, Italy. He is there because he was found in Italy exactly 92.56 meters away from the Austrian border (they resurveyed the border between those to countries to clarify Ötzi’s “nationality”).
So Switzerland was never in the game of being Ötzi’s site of the find .
Here is the link to the museum’s website: http://www.iceman.it/en/node/241
Kind regards and please go onwith your awesome show,
(I remember Kawaoka on TWiV saying he didn’t understand why people still
opposed after he had exlained why the research was useful. I didn’t
As I understand it, the GOF-argument is, that those methods may also be
evildoers to create more dangerous flu-viruses. While those people (Kawaoka
also Wimmer’s de-optimization) are doing this for vaccine production, it is
these methods can also be used to create worse viruses. Evildoers may learn
“mechanistically”, as Vincent would say.
Could they do the research while keeping the results secret ?
Apparently not, the system is not designed for that research.
Maybe the military could do that. You must control and lock up these
And let me say, that the TWiV team is traditionally biased here.
It’s a controversial discussion and most non-flu scientists are against it
why we have the moratorium. So, how likely is it that all TWiVers are soo
on one and the same side here ? I’m not sure how it started, maybe the
Osterholm discussion, maybe because Palese benefits from GOF-research,
maybe because they are too concerned about the science,research,teaching
community and their funding and too less concerned about the general
It goes more and more into riduculing than debating.
I call it agenda-driven science as opposed to curiosity-driven
You would pick only the evidence that supports you agenda while
the contras. You won’t acknowledge and accept any argument of the
side and do some weighting of pros and cons.
In my opinion the lab escapes from official lab is not the main argument,
but the danger that others will secretly do the research in less safe
illegally or in countries with laxer regulation.
How do you know that these methods can be used to create ‘worse’ viruses? Worse for whom? Where is the evidence? There is none – it is all threatening, apocalyptic scenarios created by the anti-GOF crowd which can only think of fear.
thanks for replying here. I think open internet discussion
is more productive than the typical debating in conferences
or writing papers or articles. You can rethink,edit,
correct,add links and there is direct feedback and discussion.
I’m missing this in the important GOF-debate, the
main “players” (Osterholm-term) won’t do this.
> How do you know that these methods can be used to
> create ‘worse’ viruses?
> Worse for whom? Where is the evidence? There is none –
> it is all threatening, apocalyptic scenarios created
> by the anti-GOF crowd which can only think of fear.
## I “know” — it seems likely from what we know. (There is
much evidence, I’d bet, that most experts would agree )
## “Worse” — more virulent, more transmissable in humans.
Greater pandemic risk,
## Worse for — mankind, global health, global economy.
## evidence —
We know, that these pandemic flu viruses are out there
in the giant search space of 13000^4 combinations and
are found by nature every ~40 years with an evolutionary
algorithm of point mutation and reassortment,
purely step by step, one at a time.
We know, there are better algorithms for such “problems”
and computers are more powerful than nature for that.
We also know that (many) viruses can be assembled from
just knowing the sequences.
This is becoming ever cheaper and easier.
And we know, that lab-reassortment and passaging can
often create more transmissable better host adapted
and sometime more virulent viruses in the lab,
starting from some other (artificial) virus.
Luckily probably we didn’t yet get pandemic-capable
viruses from that. (so far)
Worse viruses have been created by these methods,
viruses that are being generally (including you, afair)
considered more dangerous than the original,
unmanipulated ones and require higher safety levels.
There is evidence that they are more dangerous,
although they didn’t yet create a pandemic.
There are legal hurdles to fully create these,
so we don’t really know what is currently possible.
There could also be some fundamental problems,
which however I don’t see and which have not
been outlined yet. There is “no evidence” for
fundamental problems using your language.
## apocalyptic scenarios creaed by the anti-GOF crowd —
I remember how the apocalyptic scenarios were
“created” in 2005f by the “H5N1 crowd”
The “GOF-crowd” then just applied it to lab-viruses.
I think that without the H5N1 crowd there may not have
bee an anti-GOF crowd. (too small for a crowd)
But for a reasonable risk estimate it doesn’t matter
so much which crowd thinks what and how they spread it,
what media and headlines they use.
I’m not happy with the GOF-crowd either, FVR etc.
Both sides in the controversy are party agenda-driven,
they have professional interests un the decision.
How safe current American labs are, what happened
in 1977 or whether GOF-research is useful, that’s
not the main point, IMO.
The main point is estimating the risk created by
current technological non-GOF advances.
## GOF-crowd —
By calling them “crowd”, you presumably want to
compare them with the (uninformed) “anti-vaccine
crowd” (another term used by TWiV) or the
“climate-change-denier-crowd” or such.
But it doesn’t work. There are many reknowned and
accepted scientists, nobel-laureates and such,
in the crowd and indeed most non-flu experts are
reportedly against those GOF-experiments.
Was there a poll collected of researches in related fields? Where are you pulling “most” from. All I’ve seen from the peripheries is a few very vocal folks within the scientific community who’s voices are being amplified by the “IFL Science” and “Raw Story” audiences.
sort of a poll. “Large majority out of 200”. Well, that’s what they say but
apparently the opponents
couldn’t come up with better – or just other – estimates