TWiV 603: Cloudy with a chance of coronavirus

April 19, 2020

Daniel Griffin provides his weekly update on the COVID-19 clinical situation, followed by results of seroprevalence studies, analysis of CpG dinucleotide frequencies in the SARS-CoV-2 genome, and answers to listener questions.

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, Alan Dove, Rich Condit, Kathy Spindler, and Brianne Barker

Guest: Daniel Griffin

Click arrow to play
Download TWiV 603 (70 MB .mp3, 116 min)
Subscribe (free): iTunesGoogle PodcastsRSSemail

Become a patron of TWiV!

Links for this episode

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Your email address will not be published.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 *

14 comments on “TWiV 603: Cloudy with a chance of coronavirus

  1. Cameron Rogers Apr 19, 2020

    Hi TWiV team,
    I would like to know about the possibility of COVID-19 presenting with just seizures, in otherwise “asymptomatic” cases, in terms of respiratory illness.

  2. Ann McKerrow Apr 19, 2020

    Please write the letter to the Op Ed page of the NYT!

  3. Michael Finfer, MD Apr 19, 2020

    Let’s suppose for a moment that there are large numbers of asymptomatic infections with SARS-CoV-2 and that the scale of the epidemic is far larger than we have supposed. Wouldn’t that mean that this virus is well adapted to us? That wouldn’t happen at random. Wouldn’t that suggest that ancestors of SARS-CoV-2 had been passaged through humans multiple times in the past, gradually acquiring the traits that they needed to successfully infect the population? Is there any evidence of that sort of natural selection in the virus’s genome?

  4. Cliff Christian Apr 19, 2020

    Hi Ho Twivereenos:
    The cold cuts in my refrigerator and freezer are problematic. Given the outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 infections among workers at meat-packing plants, is it possible that cold cuts are a source of viral infection? In advance of your astute pronouncements I have started to sauté my cold cuts before consumption.
    Thanks for all your good work,
    Cliff, San Jose, Santa Clara County, CA

  5. Hello!
    I am curious about the cytokine storm after the first week. Is there a possibility of ADE from the initial humoral response? Allowing infection of immune cells through the Fc receptor? If this is true, it may explain the systemic expansion and cytokine storm that follows.

  6. Around 1:34:30 you talk about the ChemRxiv preprint suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 proteins attacks hemoglobin. As you note, the paper only presents modeling results and I was pleased to see that you discounted it. You might also want to look at the critique of this paper I’ve posted as another preprint on ChemRxiv, showing that the modeling was done so badly that nothing in their conclusions deserves any further consideration. The most catastrophic error was that the authors seem to believe that the highest energy interactions predicted between molecules are the best, whereas these are the most strained and unfavorable. What they discussed as the very best result from a docking calculation has a calculated strain energy that, on a molar basis, is about 30 million times as large as the energy released by exploding TNT.

    My preprint can be found here:

  7. would you please explain this paper?
    what was that chimeric virus?

  8. Yana Nedvetsky Apr 23, 2020

    I am a practicing dentist. My profession has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. In order to go back to work dentists need to not only figure out how to protect themselves and their staff, which seems possible based on ICU/ER protocols, but also how to protect patients from contracting the virus in their offices. After all patients in dental office cannot wear masks during the procedures.
    Related to this situation I have the following three questions:
    1. How long do you think is the virus aerosolized in an operatory after dental procedures with air driven handpieces?
    2. What is the most efficient and what is the most thorough method of sanitizing the air in the room?
    3. Are there chemical methods to disinfect oral cavity (much has been made of pre- rinsing with Peroxide) to temporarily reduce potential viral content of saliva?
    4. Testing: from your past episodes I understand that rapid tests are not reliable enough to discriminate among patients who can be safely seen without risking the transmission of the virus in the office. Have anything changed since then?
    A bit of context:
    During HIV/AIDS epidemic we were trained to treat every patient as if they are HIV positive in order to make dental offices safe for staff and patients. It is possible to ensure the safety of dental patients with regard to the transmission blood born pathogens. What are the possible protocols in your opinion for doing the same with airborne ones like Covid19?
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
    I greatly appreciate your podcasts!
    Yana Nedvetsky

    • profvrr Apr 25, 2020

      We will be having Michael Schmidt on TWiV in a few weeks, who will provide perspective for dentists. Dr. Schmidt has been advising the dental school at Medical University of South Carolina. I believe you will find his comments very helpful. It will release on 10 May.

  9. Vincent, I know you said the mutations seen thus far are normal ‘noise’, but this pre-print (Sunday 4/19) that I came across after that episode seem to suggest there is a risk of mutations increasing the pathogenicity or changing the antigenicity. Is this really a new finding, or more alarmism over a few base pairs difference?​