Clarissa writes:

Dear Twiv team,

Thanks for the discussion on the challenges of polio eradication. It was great!

Regarding the Brazilian Vaccination program, you’re right! it’s great, an outstanding public health action that we have for free since the 1970s with increasing number of vaccines added over the years. But Brazilian people take it for granted.

And not only for kids, but for teenagers and adults, such as HPV, HBV, flu etc. All free and we still get low coverage!! Too bad!

Actually, measles is back two years after Brazil got the eradication certificate by WHO!! This is so absurd!!


Clarissa Damaso, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Instituto de Biofisica Carlos Chagas Filho

Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Anthony writes:

According to the PR above, many bats were found in the well.  The family was drinking water from the well.

Was Dr. Peter Reid the Australian vet with Hendra experience who emailed TWiV?  I was not able to find the original TWiV letter by a search. Yes, indeed, he would most certainly be an interesting guest.

BTW, in that TWiV letter of a past episode, Dr. Reid asks about American fruit bats and disease.  There are new world bats that eat fruit, but (alas for the curse of common names) these are not fruit bats.

The American fruit eating bats are microchiroptera, not megachiroptera.  If memory still works for me, the Artibeus are related fairly closely to the Vampire bat.


Colm writes:

For once I’m mostly caught on podcasts instead of a week or two behind and thought you might be interested in this article from The Atlantic recently about the anti-vax movement making it to horse farms in Australia.

Colm Atkins, Ph.D. (@_colm_)

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Freiberg Lab

Department of Pathology

University of Texas Medical Branch

Ted writes:

Dear TWIV hosts,

Thought this recent Lancet article (paywall) and commentary in the NEJM Journal Watch might be worthy of mention as a snippet, in terms of the apparent long persistence and transmission of the Ebola virus, by a female, in one Liberian family.

Congratulations on recently reaching  your milestone 500th episode and eagerly anticipating the 1000th!

Keep up the excellent advocacy for science communication and truth.

We, your listeners, will accept no substitutes!

Ted Splaver DMD

Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

College of Dental Medicine, NOVA Southeastern University, Davie/Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.

Persistence of Ebola virus after the end of widespread transmission in Liberia: an outbreak report

Prasad writes:

Dear Vincent and the other TWIV hosts,

Great job continuing the wonderful TWIV podcast! Loved the term someone coined this week on digisphere to describe Vinnie as the Podfather! I wanted to bring to your attention to two papers that I noticed this week that once again suggest the pivotal roles played by viruses or virus-derived elements in human existence. One is a paper in Cell reporting that a LINE1 retrotransposon regulates early development. The other is a paper in Neuron that is highly suggestive of Herpesviruses as the underlying cause of Alzheimer’s disease (URLs included for both). I was blown away by each of them! Although the latter still needs to be confirmed to show that Herpesviruses are not merely opportunistic passengers – it is a great story – if it is true, one could use antivirals to stall them if not to eliminate them completely.

On another note, I heard on the latest ‘Immune’ podcast that Vincent is beginning to worry about the future of these podcasts that have become such favorites for myself and a host of others I know (including my students and post-docs). I dearly hope that they will continue and that you will find the resources needed. In the meantime, let me toast your recent successes (TWIV 500, Vincent becoming the Podfather of the science podcast genre and the TWIV subscription exceeding 13,000!)!

With regards,


(By the way, while my full name is Vinayaka Prasad, everyone calls me Prasad, not Vinnie. My real last name, is not in my name. Sorry about this non-conformity).


Vinayaka R. Prasad, Ph. D.

Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Albert Einstein College of Medicine


Laboratory Homepage:

Bob writes:

“Tests of brain tissue from nearly 1,000 people found that two strains of herpes virus were far more abundant in the brains of those with early-stage Alzheimer’s than in healthy controls. “[S]cientists are divided on whether viruses are likely to be an active trigger, or whether the brains of people already on the path towards Alzheimer’s are simply more vulnerable to infection,” reports The Guardian. From the report: “The viral genomes were detectable in about 30% of Alzheimer’s brains and virtually undetectable in the control group,” said Sam Gandy, professor of neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York and a co-author of the study. The study also suggested that the presence of the herpes viruses in the brain could influence or control the activity of various genes linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

The scientists did not set out to look for a link between viruses and dementia. Instead they were hoping to pinpoint genes that were unusually active in the brains of people with the earliest stage of Alzheimer’s. But when they studied brain tissue, comparing people with early-stage Alzheimer’s and healthy controls, the most striking differences in gene activity were not found in human genes, but in genes belonging to two herpes virus strains, HHV6A and HHV7. And the abundance of the viruses correlated with clinical dementia scores of the donors.”

Looking forward to some interesting TWiV’s!


Vincent writes:

Dear TWiV Team,

I wanted to write you all a quick note because Monday, July 30th is a special day. In TWiV episode #491, The Ileum and the Odyssey you discussed a paper published in Science pertaining to Norovirus tropism for tuft cells. In this episode you speculated on certain parts of the paper where there appeared to be missing information due to the page limitations. In episode #492 titled CRISPR Diagnostics, Dr. Craig Wilen wrote in to further clarify the some of the details that had to be left out in order to fit the six-page limit. In the end of his email, he mentioned that he will be moving to Yale to start his own lab and that he is looking for people interested in researching murine norovirus in tuft cells. After about a week of debating whether to email Dr. Wilen, I did. The same day I emailed Dr. Wilen, I had also just received my last rejection letter from the PhD programs I applied to previously in the fall. I remember vividly the day I received the email he sent back (rather quickly from my initial email). I was sitting in my apartment and was wondering what the next step in my life would be and if this was a path I should continue pursuing. After a very pleasant conversation over the phone, he asked if he could contact my master’s thesis committee at Quinnipiac University (pretty much up the street from Yale) and hired me shortly after as a Postgraduate Assistant. Monday, July 30th is my start date with him and frankly, I am a tad nervous but mostly excited.

I am incredibly grateful for all the work you all do to keep this podcast going and being a platform for great minds coming together all over the world to discuss the wonderful world of viruses. My closest friend, Andrew listens to TWiV every week as well and we discuss the papers together as well as excitedly exchange other cool virology papers we find in our work. I promise I will work hard for Dr. Wilen so I can make him, and the TWiV team proud.

Thanks for being the best podcast in the world,

-Vincent Graziano

P.S. If any of you find yourselves in New Haven, please do not hesitate it shoot me an email. New Haven has the best pizza in the country (sorry New Yorkers, it’s true) and I am buying you all a pie.

Email written: Friday, July 27, 2018. 7:57pm, 25.5°C

Anthony writes:

I don’t know if the figures stated in the attached image are accurate.


# # #

A jab for Elvis helped America beat polio. Now doctors have recruited him again…

First saw here:

Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes

Anonymous writes:

Dear Twivers,

A are few points that I think are needed to be said concerning finding a postdoctoral position and your comments and reflections will be highly appreciated

I am defending my PhD thesis soon and looking for an appropriate postdoctoral position. My approach is a very simple one, sending emails!. I do send emails to potential investigators where my scientific interests could be matched with the type of work they are doing (actually I do not know any other way to finding a position other than this)

I read recently a blog post over twitter about a PhD candidate that gave up on her PhD in neurosciences because of her supervisor’s attitude towards her, after over 5 years of investing work and effort in her research. I was not surprised, supervisors that are not supervising and just staying in the way of their students is a reality that we all know exists in academia, it is just ignored and not really confronted. What concerns me here is that such PIs not only could ruin your scientific career while working with them, but even afterwards by writing unsatisfactory recommendation letters. New accepting PIs are understandably afraid of investing money and effort on someone that is not well recommended from his prior supervisor. It is like a judge hearing one side of the story and taking directly a decision. So you receive an apologizing reply or most of the times nothing. This needs to be changed (but I do not know how). What I do believe is happening nowadays more and more and probably to circumvent such a problem, is that people are shuffling through labs because they already know each other or because they like each other, and through this they could minimize unknown aspects of the applicants they accept in their labs. Scientific competence is not a real player in such a model. I do like you I get you.

Another important thing that I am currently confronted with and not fully understand is that why some researchers do not take the time to reply my emails. It is not that I am sending a spam email or some impossible request. It is a very simple request: do you have a place for me as a postdoc? yes or no! it is not complicated at all but it seems still for some human beings to be so tedious writing back saying yes or no. They forget however that it is very decisive for the applicant and for his family to receive such replies as this is a hard time for the whole family that it involves planning that sometimes requires relocating to other country and so on. I do not simply believe that these researchers are so busy replying such emails as some of them are simply tweeting every second minute and sometimes only silly jokes!

Feeling a responsibility here saving families of poor young researchers I would like to help established scientists answer such requests by copying one of these responses so that they do not waste their valuable times

  •         Yes I have a vacancy
  •         No I do not have a vacancy
  •         My partner left me and I cry all night so I need some time to reply your email, but I will when I am over this and directly after I finish writing some jokes over twitter (at least then I know I would receive a reply in the future)

I have a lot to say, but I would like to enjoy your discussion more than just reading my silent scream at you 🙂

Mark writes:

Hello Vincent,

Congratulations on episode #500 and 10 consecutive shows from the road. Do you have any shows planned to record in the San Francisco Bay area? If yes I’d like to watch if they are in an open forum.

I’m making a variant of a listener pick — its a listener submission.

I’ve noticed a shift in some of the language you and the other hosts use in your friendly banter. I’ve updated my “TWiV Bingo” card with some of these new phrases. Images of the bingo playing card are attached. For sport, listeners should take a shot of their favorite adult beverage when they hear one of the bingo phrases used. And remember, don’t drive after drinking.

All the best.