TWiV 36: Pandemic

June 15, 2009

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove, Dick Despommier, and Hamish Young

Vincent, Alan, Dick, and Hamish Young discuss the 2009 influenza pandemic, first 2009 H1N1 vaccine, hunting mosquitoes with midges, vaccine-associated polio in India, and adenoviruses.

Click the arrow above to play, or right-click to download TWiV #36 (64 MB .mp3, 93 minutes)

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Weekly Science Picks

Dick The World’s Water by Peter H. Gleick
Hamish Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond; Complications by Atul Gawande
Alan Eurekalert
Vincent Respectful Insolence

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5 comments on “TWiV 36: Pandemic

  1. Chris Aug 16, 2009

    I just found your podcast, and am catching up with my new mp3 player that lets me listen on “fast!” So if I may not understand your voices if I hear you in real life. So if you have learned to following, please forgive me.

    I started out on Usenet and met “Orac” (the owner of Respectful Insolence) there. His actual name is the worst kept secret on the Interwebs. He is actually one of the contributors to the ScienceBasedMedicine blog, which is why a few of the Respectful Insolence posts are almost identical to posts on ScienceBasedMedicine (and he was one of the presenters on … with luck I will get to TAM 8, and my daughter has expressed an interest in attending!).

    Speaking of ScienceBasedMedicine… one of my goals in life is to meet Mark Crislip. Not only are we the same age, but I have a daughter about the age of one of his talented sons. It is just a warped thought. I love his sense of humor, and I would encourage everyone to listen to his interview on the Australian podcast, … he is in his element!

    Also, as a side note: I have had dengue fever while a child living in South America. One plan for a thirtieth wedding anniversary is a trip to where I lived as a child, but the threat of getting bit by a mosquito carrying dengue is a bit of a worry. Prior to planning this trip next year, we will be checking dengue outbreaks in the Caribbean area.

  2. andrewbreed Aug 18, 2009

    Hi guys,

    just a quick couple of comments regarding TWIV#44 and fruit bats following your conversation. Firstly, contrary to Dick's statement, many bat species definitely do migrate. These are mainly species that live in more temperate regions but even the tropical species may travel many hundreds of kilometers (probably in search of food). The bats in which Ebola, Marburg, Hendra and Nipah have been found belong to the Family Pteropodidae or Old World Fruit Bats, these bats are not found in North or South America and hence those viruses are unlikely to be found in bats in the US.
    Also fruit bats do eat the foot that is still on trees, and not so much the fruit that has fallen to the ground.

    And re TWIV#45 and the option of culling wildlife species to control disease: one main problem with the concept is that it is unlikely to be possible to entirely “wipe out” a population as you suggested, but it is also unlikely to be carried out for ethical reasons, as well as culling part of a population tends to lead to increased migration of animals into the culled area and hence potentially brining in more diease(s) (see the “perturbation hypothesis” for badgers and TB in the UK), and also culling part of a population will probably lead to an increased reproductive rate in the remaining animals improving the condition for infectious diseases, and finally many wildlife species perform important “services” in the environment (also as you suggested) e.g. fruit bats are important pollinators of forest plants and they disperse seeds hence playing a role in maintaining the forests where they live i.e. get rid of the fruit bats and you'll get rid of the forests.

    Otherwise, great work, I really enjoy listening in,



    ps Peter Daszak works for the Wildlife Trust (and was previously head of the Consortium for Conservation Medicine), not World Wildlife Fund/Federation

  3. andrewbreed Aug 18, 2009