Henry writes:

Dear Dr. Vincent and everyone involved in this great space for the dissemination of science.

There are no words to describe how happy I was when I heard that our new paper describing the pathogenesis of distinct flavivirus NS1 proteins was featured in your weekly podcast (TWiV 535). I loved the title “Miles to go before I leak”. For a young scientist like me, it is very important to feel that we are somehow contributing to the virology field. Even though I graduated as a bacteriologist more than 10 years ago in Colombia, where I worked mainly in another amazing topic “the antimicrobial resistance”, I fell in love with virus since I started working with Hantavirus and West Nile in Colombia. I consider myself a virologist and I love this NS1 protein, indeed, such a “scary” protein with so much potential in the flavivirus field, and why not in all the virus families that secrete proteins that do “stuff”, as you well pointed out. NS1 is an incredible multifunctional protein that even before being secreted is moving the cell machinery from the inside on behalf of the virus replication. It was for many years used as a diagnosis marker for active dengue virus infection in addition to viremia. Actually, NS1 is the “first” secreted viral protein – at least so far, the only viral protein described to be secreted by flavivirus infected cells, even before the virus goes out of the cells. It also binds to complement, and many other soluble factors, causing pathogenesis. Importantly, it causes dysfunction of distinct biological barriers such as the placenta barrier, the blood brain barrier, the liver sinusoidal barrier, the pulmonary barrier and many more barriers that we are still trying to elucidate.

I have to say that I’ve listened to this podcast at least three times so far, and that I was so excited to hear that all the right questions were asked, the right comments were said, and also very happy that after a couple of very hard years trying to publish this data, as it was also pointed out in the TWiV (isn’t it amazing that she remembered the 2017 talk?), we were able to transmit our knowledge to so many people, which is, from my point of view, the ultimate goal of doing science – of course besides trying to find ways to cure diseases, learn about these beautiful “creatures” (if we are allow to call them this way) called viruses, and finding ways to come across future antiviral therapies and why not, vaccine developing.

I must say that I’m very proud of every single human being and also non-human components (reagents and cells count too, right?) of what these days we call the NS1 team. So collaborative and so powerful, in many ways speaking, mainly human and scientific. Right now, I’m not working at the Dr. Harris Lab anymore, at least physically, because I just moved to Mexico to start a new life journey and my new scientific path.

My name is Henry Puerta-Guardo, I’m a virologist from Colombia. I studied bacteriology (Colombia), Microbiology and Cellular Biology (Venezuela) and Experimental pathology (Mexico) and I’m grateful for this and all your podcasts.

Abrazos, Henry

Ryan writes:

Dear TWiV, the measles is no longer a virology issue


Amid a relentless anti-vaccine movement and measles outbreaks across the United States, a Texas lawmaker has falsely suggested that antibiotics can be used to treat the deadly childhood disease.

Texas state Rep. Bill Zedler (R), an anti-vaxxer who is promoting legislation to allow parents to more easily opt out of vaccinations for their children, said he had measles when he was a child.

“When I grew up, I had a lot of these illnesses,” Zedler recalled, according to the Texas Observer. “They wanted me to stay at home. But as far as being sick in bed, it wasn’t anything like that.”

“They want to say people are dying of measles,” he added. “Yeah, in Third World countries they’re dying of measles. Today, with antibiotics and that kind of stuff, they’re not dying in America.”

Zedler, who represents an area that includes Arlington, situated between Dallas and Fort Worth, could not immediately be reached for comment by The Washington Post.

This stuff is more political than we think as this Washington Post article is saying


Nir writes:

Dear TWIVers,

Greeting from the University of Chicago, where the weather is “Winter”. It has been Winter for a while and will probably remain so for a while yet, so quantifying it in precise degrees seems unnecessary.

As I know you are all about plaque assays, I wanted to share with you this movie of a plaque being formed (attached). It shows a single well out of a 96-well plate, filled with a monolayer of Vero cells. To each of these wells I have sorted a single HSV1-infected fibroblast and imaged it for 4 days in two hour intervals. This particular HSV1 strain harbors two fluorescent proteins – ICP4 (in green), an immediate-early protein, and VP26 (in red), a late protein. The movie starts about 18 hours after sorting, when viral spread has just begun. I like it so much that I spend way too much time staring at it instead of actually doing some experiments…

All the best,

Nir Drayman, post-doc in the lab of Savas Tay.  

Darach writes:

Esteemed Scholars of The Podcast,

TWiV has earned a place in academic discourse, and in the history of how we communicate science.

In TWiV 528 ( the annual recapsidation ), Vincent said that all the podcasts are “there forever”.

How? What happens if Primo gets bought out, Spotify/Vox consolidate all podcasts behind a paywall, Hurricane Sandy’s big sister hits Manhattan, or other such disaster?

What happens to the final cuts, the preliminary audio, the transcripts, the links, the letters?

I’m sure y’all have got a plan, but a friend told me about a workshop coming up titled:

It’s the year 2039. Where’s your podcast?” (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/its-the-year-2039-wheres-your-podcast-a-preserve-this-podcast-workshop-tickets-55599690170)

It’s run by a group of archivists and librarians who are making “Preserve This Podcast”, a podcast series about preserving podcasts (coming out soon).

The in-person workshop is on Friday March 22nd down in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. They also have a zine on preservethispodcast.org with recommended practices and a survey of podcaster practices.

I hope there’s a robust system in place, or that this resource can help y’all improve your current plan.

Also, I think professional librarians would be excited to help archive the shows.

Best of luck,

Darach, in California ( where it has been unusually rainy )

Peter writes:

Question from Peter Evans, retired physician

Owing to the increased interest in a viral cause for Alzheimer’s disease, why is it difficult to develop a vaccine for the herpes simplex virus?

I understand that many pharmaceutical companies have given up trying!

Thanking you in anticipation,

Kind regards, Peter Evans

Trudy writes:

Dear TWiVers,

I wanted to write this email as a personal thank you and testimonial to Susana Lopez and her co-authors for writing this wonderful children’s book called Paul has Measles.

I’ve been reading the book to my almost five-year-old and she really loves it. On our ride home tonight, she asked me out of the blue: “Mom, when are the leukocytes coming?” At first I was very confused because the question came out of nowhere, so I asked her what she meant. She said “When are the leukocytes coming in my blood so they can get rid of the germs?”

For context, my daughter has been suffering from an ear infection and her ear still hurts a little.  

So, I will leave you with that as I pick my jaw up off the floor. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Best Regards,