TWiV 588: Coronavirus update – Save the pangolin!

February 23, 2020

The TWiV team returns this week to SARS-CoV-2019 coverage to review the latest epi curves, the fatality rate, furin cleavage site and receptor binding domain in the spike glycoprotein, related CoV recovered from pangolins, evidence that the virus did not escape from a laboratory, and many more questions sent in by listeners.

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, Rich Condit, and Kathy Spindler

Click arrow to play
Download TWiV 588 (91 MB .mp3, 151 min)
Subscribe (free): iTunesGoogle PodcastsRSSemail

Become a patron of TWiV!

Links for this episode

Weekly Science Picks 1:52:40, 2:20:32

Kathy – The deep sea
Rich – World’s oldest message in a bottle
DicksonCoronavirus: A visual guide
Vincent – Recent NSABB meeting Videocasts Day 1 Day 2

Listener Picks

StephenThis podcast will kill you
NevaChina’s surveillance
SophiaWHO online courses

Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees.

Send your virology questions and comments to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

11 comments on “TWiV 588: Coronavirus update – Save the pangolin!

  1. Mark Wilson Feb 23, 2020

    Please could you change the web page such that it is possible to click on the “Links for this Episode” while listening to the podcast without it interrupting the podcast – currently, if you click on a link it goes to that page and interrupts the podcast. Thanks, Mark

  2. Matt Dubuc Feb 23, 2020

    The participants asked about harvesting bt guano in China Actually bat guano is highly prized by gardeners worldwide as a phosphate fertilizer which helps produce bigger blooms.

  3. deaest Twivians!
    first, I must apologise for previous whining comment… (shame&regret-sulking around the neighbourhood)
    sooo relieved to be listening to this week’s twiv (i thought they quarantined you )

  4. As news about the Coronavirus dominates the headlines, it is easy to get emotional and react to every latest development. However, we believe it is helpful to examine the facts and take a broader view on this outbreak. Here is what we know about the new virus so far, and how the scientific community is working to counter it:

    Feel free to read on TWiV letters.

    Comments from dozens of scientists are on linkedin too:

  5. Great show, checking out your Lecture notes Vincent! So thanks
    I have a 70 min per day commute so listening regularly now.

    Also found TWiM, TWiP, TWiEVO


    Mol, bio Scientist in Antibody Development!
    Northern Ireland

    Crann BEag is my side project for an extra artistic outlet

  6. Tom Guendert Feb 26, 2020

    A bit disappointed that the always interesting and insightful Dickson stated the picture of the family that died, that has been circulating thanks to Epoch Times, as fact. It doesn’t match the pattern of Covid-19 illness at all, and was later suspected to be an unrelated pesticide or carbon monoxide poisoning incident.

    I realize we don’t want to trust everything published by Chinese government sources, but even less so, some of politically motivated groups that have a history of published fake news.

    AFP fact check does a good job checking some of the biggest stories, but lately they can’t keep up with the firehose of things being spread on social media. In an educational session, AFP said a good rule of thumb is to think about who’s publishing the information and any reason they may have to alter the narrative:

    • The notion that the Chinese government is more trustworthy than the Epoch times in absurd. Not claiming that Epoch is perfect but they should be close to the bottom of the fake news list because they’ll report on stories that other news organizations are afraid to touch.

      Also, most “fact check” sites are dubious at best. Lies of omission are represented as truth, and truth is claimed to be lies by using omission. They’ll get the low handing fruit correct but anything that is complicated and controversial is just represented as true or false based on the political leanings of the so-called “fact check” site.

  7. Kiana Feb 28, 2020

    Thank you very much for your highly educational podcasts. They are utterly invaluable. My 12-year-old daughter, Melanie, who listens to your programs regularly, has a question for you: Greetings, I would like to know if there are any projections as to the probability rate of mutation of the SARS-CoV-2. Will most infected humans, who recovered, develop immunity to this virus for the near future? Or is it predicted that the virus mutates so rapidly, that immunity, even for the near future, is not likely? In such a scenario, could a previously SARS-CoV-2-infected person get re-infected in the near future? Thank you very much in advance for reviewing my question.

  8. Gabriel Guimarães Mar 5, 2020

    Hi, so in this episode a dashboard website was mentioned, besides the Johns Hopkins that would mention closed airports and business, can you post the link in here or in the episode links?

    Gabriel Guimarães