TWiV 613: Jenner, vaccines, and COVID-19

May 14, 2020

Vincent, Kathy and Rich explain the Jenner Institute’s SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, the NIH decision to stop the Remdesivir study, and answer listener questions.

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Rich Condit, and Kathy Spindler

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Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees.

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7 comments on “TWiV 613: Jenner, vaccines, and COVID-19

  1. Neil Ravin May 15, 2020

    TWiV has become my main source of information about COVID19 and viruses beyond–apart from the NEJM and the New Yorker–my only source.
    I wanted to offer a quibble which, I’m sure, you’ll hear about from others, and an aphorism to address Dr. Racaniello’s question about knowing vs unknowing ignorance.
    First the quibble: I’m not sure if Rich Condit was joking when he started the TWiV 13 podcast about Jenner and vaccines by saying “lymph” is simply “pus.”
    For listeners who may not have gone to medical school, lymph is actually the milky stuff–the word lymph comes from the Latin “lympha” which means “connected to water”–and it circulates in a network of lymph vessels which collect flow from cells, lymph nodes, (which include the spleen, tonsils) and ultimately connect with the parallel and better know circulatory systems of veins, dumping its “sterile” contents–I know Dr. Racaniello is very careful about words, and if viruses circulate in the blood I’m not sure we can say either lymph or blood is truly “sterile”–but the lymph dumps back into the blood stream at the thoracic duct in the chest and at other smaller stations. You can actually do a “lymphangiogram” to see this lymphatic system of lacy vessels from the foot to the thorax.
    “Pus” on the other hand, is the purulent exudate emanating to the surface from wounds, like the pustules on Jenner’s cow, which is not sterile–far from it–and contains bacteria, detritus of the fight offered by the innate and adaptive immune systems, It is “contaminated” with infective agents, along with the battlefield litter of T and B cells, antibodies etc. (Before Semelweiss and the concept of “sterile surgery” took hold, surgeons used to go about their rounds with “good pus” on their coats. Of course, there was no “good pus,” only “dirty pus,” but doctors and surgeons were ignorant then.)
    A small point, but I’m sure you’ve heard from a lot of clinicians about this, especially surgeons who are very wary of ligating, inadvertently, the thoracic duct when they are operating nearby.
    As for the aphorism: Dr. Racaniello was searching for the phrase to elucidate ignorance. When freshly graduated medical students, new doctors, arrive on the wards to start their internships (now called the PGY1) the are told: “The most dangerous intern on the ward is not the intern who does not know; it is the intern who does not know he does not know.” The message of course is: be humble, ask. Don’t pretend to know what you do not know.

  2. Nora Manwiller May 15, 2020

    Thank you so much for the great information you all provide. I am a high school science teacher who is currently teaching in a co-op for homeschooled high school students–at this point using Zoom. I thought it would be good to teach a unit on Virology and discovered the Virology 2020 lecture series while searching on the internet for resources. The students really enjoyed the introductory lecture, and now I am hooked on listening to TWiV and Immune. Today I listened to your discussion about choirs and my current question relates to our church preparations for resuming in-person meetings. I am currently reading all I can about protocols for cleaning, air exchange, and distance seating, And we are ordering masks, sanitizer, hospital grade cleaning solutions and other supplies. We are currently imagining that our first in-person services will be outdoors in the evening by registration only while we continue the morning services via Livestream. We have 10+ acres we could spread out on. We hope to transition to offering multiple indoor services in the fall with significant distance seating. (Livestream will always be available as well) My husband is the pastor and he says he really can’t imagine preaching in a mask. Additionally, our worship team would be hampered by mask wearing. So, I’m wondering if there is a safe distance the preacher could be from the nearest person for preaching w/o a mask? Could the worship leaders be a safe distance apart while singing? Could the congregants be a safe distance apart and sing with or without masks? What would those distances be for outdoors? And for indoors? Thank you for your help!

  3. Hello Vincent and TWiV team.

    I believe that I may be infected in a way described in this Guardian article. I too seem to be in a protracted period with “recrudescence of symptomatology” as described in this Guardian article about Paul Garner, Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Mine symptoms do not seem quite as severe as the described by Prof Garner but definitely similar and they definitely come an go.

    I did go in to my local medical clinic for an ultrasound as I had concerns about a potential deep vein thrombosis that might lead to a pulmonary embolism as had been described by guests on your show as part of this tendency for Covid patients to suffer blood clotting issues. My concerned developed when I woke up one morning with an extremely sore left calf muscle and shin bone for which there was no explanation, i.e. no trauma and no previous history. Combined with the other on-again off again cold and flu like symptoms I have been experiencing ow for about two months caused my DVT concern. This eventually cleared up with Ibuprofen and stretching


  4. Dear TwiV & TwIp folks:
    You may have seen the Economist article two weeks ago about nicotine blocking the nicotinic type acetylcholine receptor and possible leading to better outcomes with CoViD-19. We already have readily available nicotine OTC a lot of places by just about any ROA.

    I remember there used to be a herbal remedy to facilitate smoking cessation which impacted the muscarinic receptors, namely hyoscine (scopolamine) and wonder if this ancient medication or trihexyphenidyl, orphenadrine, dicycloverine, atropine, and the like could be combined with SL nicotine and morphine and sympathomimetic (like with Skophedal back in the day) and given to hospitalised patients from triage to end of the first week at least

  5. Pablo P. May 17, 2020

    TWiV team,

    I found about your podcasts from some IRC channel a while ago.

    I don’t do anything related to biology, medicine or science in general, and my first language isn’t English, so it’s kinda difficult for me to understand everything you say, but I love your podcasts, so, thank you for your work!

    I was wondering if you have talked about or are willing to talk about some detection methodologies that seem to be relatively new, simpler to apply, cheaper (I suppose) and faster than real-time RT-PCR tests, called RT-LAMP [1]. I learned about “Loop mediated isothermal amplification” (LAMP) from a publication about a new argentinian tests they are introducing, that give results in less than 2 hours [2]. Also, by googling, I found a paper about a proposed new technique called iLACO based on LAMP [3,4](says the test itself gives results after 15-40 minutes!). No idea how it differs from LAMP, though. I also found some stuff about using CRISPR as another way to detect COVID-19 and HIV at the same time! [5] (btw, there is a lot of interesting stuff in that subreddit).

    Finally, in case this helps you or someone else somehow: Australian physicians published and have kept this huge guideline on SARS-CoV-2 updated for anyone read [6].

    Again, thanks a lot for your work!







  6. Marla Allisan May 19, 2020

    How do I sign up for alerts for new podcasts?

  7. Harold Gielow May 19, 2020

    The mRNA vaccine uses a lipid nano particle with surface polyethylene glycol 2000 as the delivery vehicle. It is documented that 70% of the US population has anti peg antibodies. Is the trial doing anything to quantify problems with antibodies in the population to PEG?