Dirk Jochmans writes:

Maybe we can add Nobel laureate Gertrude Elion to the list of female virologists. As far as I know she was the first to describe a direct antiviral (acyclovir). There also exists the “Gertrude Elion Award”, which is the highest award in the field of antivirals (https://www.isar-icar.com/Awards).

Thanks for the great podcast!


Dirk J

University of Leuven

Kehaluani writes:


I am listening to the discussion on TWiV 581 and have a few comments on the role of the gut microbiome. Vincent is correct about the change in our diet from early human ancestors that ate very little meat compared to modern humans. Studies have been done on gut diversity and how found to be more species rich in humans that have a diet thought to be similar to our primitive ancestors. 


Current studies on brain development suggest that it is thought to be less related to meat consumption and more about starch digestion, whether it was the use of fire to cook starchy tubers and make the sugar more available or the increase of starch digesting enzymes.


The increased role of meat in our diet is thought to increase specific species of gut bacteria that are associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and many other diseases. One compound that might be causal is TMAO, which is created by specific gut bacteria upon digestion of compounds found in animal products. I would love TWiM to discuss one of the many studies on TMAO in the literature. I am a PhD nutrition student and am hoping to do a study looking at this compound and disease outcome. Atherosclerosis is one of the first diseases linked to a high meat diet and elevated TMAO levels. A recent study of a mummified Inuit showed signs of heart disease in a population known to eat a meat based diet. 


Thank you for these excellent podcasts. I have been listening since episode one and really enjoy your discussions on all the TWiXs. 



Ryan writes:

Dear Twiv,

here is an obit A. Bennett Jenson one of the leaders in the HPV Vaccine development has died


Amal writes:

Dear TWIV hosts,

I was surprised to find out that individuals who have been vaccinated against the flu, may still get infected (without getting sick) and have viremia levels that would allow transmission of the virus. If this is true (i do not trust my source and there were no clear answers in the papers I read about this issue), wouldn’t that mean that making vaccination mandatory for health care workers in order to protect their patients, is basically a useless recommendation? I mean it is useful in the sense that health care workers will be protected and able to work in case of an epidemic, but there is no protection for patients?

In that case, shouldn’t it be the opposite? Not recommend flu vaccination for health care workers (that are not susceptible to complications caused by the virus/illness), so that they won’t be asymptomatic (not that ONLY vaccinated individuals could be asymptomatic, but I imagine it to be more frequent among those who are vaccinated) and therefore they won’t risk transmitting the virus to patients that much?

If this is true, is it applicable for all vaccines?

Thank you in advance for your answers,



Anthony writes:

In China, 300 million pigs have died due to the disease.  The US sends to market 100 million pigs a year. There must be severe economic consequences of the disease in China.

# # #


Quarter of world’s pig population ‘to die due to African swine fever’

World Organisation for Animal Health warns spread of disease has inflamed worldwide crisis

Seoul has culled pigs:



Les writes:

Dear Prof. VR,

It can be ordered from the US Mint starting Dec.5.


Regards… Les (Faby)

Robert writes:

A very interesting podcast on an important topic that is hugely neglected.

I got my Ph.D. in 1973, a time when Dr. Stephan pointed out a vast change was taking place in the academic job market.  I had a hard time of it (my academic travails in the pursuit of my degree didn’t help a lot), but probably a picnic compared to what people are experiencing these days.

I attribute a lot of the problems in the U.S. academic scene to the crass American disdain for intellectualism.  People with some knowledge and learning are not thought much of, compared, say, to sports or entertainment figures.  “Eggheads.”

For example, after the latest economic crash in 2008, K-12 school teachers were being shed by the load from strapped municipalities.  If these people had been thought to be doing something valuable (oh, wait, they’re only educating our kids!), a program could have been put together to keep them employed in schools for the duration, and we would all then reap enormous benefits in times to come.

Nope, can’t spend our tax dollars on stuff like that, some billionaire might be forced to pay a nickel more on his/her tax bill.

Regards, Bob

Avijit writes:

Dear sir, 

I am Avijit from Bangladesh. I completed my post graduation in microbiology. Now i am searching for PhD position but i don’t have strong research paper. I am quite pressure in my future career. 

Can you advise me what can i do right now? 

Please response me if you have time. 


I am big fan of you.

Your Obediently


Carol writes:

Update on Samoan measles scare:


In this post article RFK Jr. Was named as one of the parties who tried to get politicians in that country to question vaccine safety on the island. This report also mentions that there were nurses that faced medical malpractice in the vaccine preparation that lead up to the measles scare on the island.

This is now another case where vaccine has become a major political issue and this time it’s not just from within the USA. 

Also from Ryan:


These deaths from the measles scare is being reported to be pointed at RFK. Jr and some anti-vax leaders had a meeting with Samoan officials over vaccines as the point of origin for this outbreak in the allegations. 

Also a CDC Investigation is at play here. 

The problem here is that we have been going after Andrew Wakefield, Del Bigtree, RFK Jr, and Bernard Selz for trying to sway politicians here in the USA for the Mealses Scares here at home. 

Now a new allegation is at play showing that these same people are named in political backlash and scaring parents for measles disasters in other countries too.