TWiV 632: Countering a miasma of anti-think

June 28, 2020

Daniel Griffin provides a clinical update on COVID-19, then we review SARS-CoV-2 infections in non-humans, vesicular stomatitis in Kansas horses, and answer listener questions.

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

Guests: Daniel Griffin and Chuck Knirsch

Click arrow to play
Download TWiV 632 (87 MB .mp3, 144 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Your email address will not be published.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 *

12 comments on “TWiV 632: Countering a miasma of anti-think

  1. Markus Niederberger Jun 28, 2020

    On your complaint about hits being lower in the Non-SARS-CoV-2 stuff. I can only speak for myself, but the interview format just does not appeal to me. I LIKE the banter among your in-group.

  2. Steve Griffin Jun 28, 2020

    Hi Twivs
    I love listening to your show . In particular to how the treatment of covid patients has rapidly and successfully evolved. There seems though to be an elephant in the chat room. that is lets say a “black spot” . I am referring to the 1918 pandemic that truly had a second wave. Given the different ways a virus can evolve, what are the Twivs thoughts on how the next 12 months (& through the winter) will “pan out”?. I have a horrible feeling we are missing the bus right now on things we should be doing and preparing for. How do you define a second wave?
    Cheers Guys

  3. Joern Jun 28, 2020

    I have a question about pool testing.

    As we reopen schools and offices, one of the main problems is speed. From infection to symptoms to test to test result can easily take three weeks. That means that an infected person can have several generations of “offspring” by the time of the positive test result.

    If we want to be faster, I think we have to test everyone once or twice a week, independent of symptoms. For acceptance it has to be a spit test, not a nasopharyngial swab. And to be economically feasible, it has to be a pool test.

    So the idea is to collect a spit sample from everyone in the building/institution once or twice a week, send the samples to a test lab and get a result stating whether anyone in the sample was positive or not. If everyone is negative, we can continue as-is. If there is a positive result, we only know that someone was positive, but not who precisely or how many people. The further response is a policy question for each institution. I am more interested in getting the information faster than by individual testing – and getting more people tested than are willing to take today’s “brain sample” approach.

    Is something like this a reasonable approach? If it is, how can one find a test lab to cooperate with? Can we estimate a price per 100 samples?

    Sorry if this was the wrong forum. Feel free to direct me elsewhere instead.

  4. 1hr:50min mark has very interesting letter/question and interesting answer on Moo tolerance – ie why we an oral vaccine is doable and we don’t form immunity to hamburgers – answer – we don’t know really.

  5. Now there are reports of Coughing Assaults in the middle of COVID-19 Pandemic

    Here are some of the Coughing Assaults reported. so far and all the victims are uncertain if they will survive with COVID-19 if revealed positive.

  6. Jim Johnson Jun 29, 2020

    Hi TWIV people. I began with Victor’s Virology 2020 lectures. Being a mere non-practising mathematician with no biological training I only lasted for ten or twelve before I got lost. Luckily I found TWIV where I think I get maybe a third of what goes on, but more to the point I get a good view into the culture of virology and closely related subjects, e.g. immunology. I don’t find a problem with the amount of political comment since it is only countering the foolish injection of politics in science by politicians.
    On TWIV 632 it was mentioned that the Salk vaccine would would give immunity to the blood systems but the mucus systems, so one could contract a strain of the virus in the gut but not get sick. Wow! I had always thought that immunity was a simple either/or–though listening to you as well as IMMUNE had begun to erode that idea. I would love to hear more about immunity that affects only some parts of the body. I would put this question to IMMUNE were it not that those episodes were so infrequent.
    Keep up the wonderful work. I have been listening to the non-SARS CoV-2 sessions as well and will continue to do so.

  7. Felix Jun 30, 2020

    My podcast app reports 652 episodes for the TWiV feed with an average length of 92 minutes. This results in a total duration of 999.7 hours (over 41 days).

  8. Ron Buckner Jun 30, 2020

    Will you post a link to chart(s) that show how testing rates over the last few months have increased. I have found some charts that all end in March or the beginning of April. Would like something up to date. I need to prove to people that infections are increasing regardless of testing. Thanks.

  9. Scott Campbell MD, MPH Jul 1, 2020

    The importance of T Cells!

    Scott J Campbell MD, MPH
    Department of Emergency Medicine
    Emergency Medicine Services Liaison to the City of San Francisco
    Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco Medical Center
    President, San Francisco Emergency Physicians Association

  10. Dear Daniel and TWiV Friends,
    My wife and I (both retired from the California Department of Public Health) bid you a “warm” and humid hello from Orlando Florida, where it is currently 30 deg. Celsius (10:00am), and heading for 35 degrees this afternoon, with 80% humidity. (“Temps feels like” 40 degrees, according to the news). We began listening to TWiV a little over a year ago, and the show (and all of you) feel like true friends who we know personally. We are so impressed that you meet often and try to sort out the details of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, and you don’t let your egos get involved. They say that, “conflicts in academia are so intense because the stakes are so low”, and we’ve all seen that. As to “small talk”, I think it adds a little “brain relief” as we follow your discussions closely and are trying to absorb as much info as we can.
    You discussed patient treatment “guidances” with Daniel, based on his clinical experience treating COVID-19 patients, and I would like to suggest a possible approach to making his wealth of knowledge more widely available:
    1. Daniel and 2 or three of his colleagues are “the panel of experts” or whatever they would like to be referred to as. Maybe a European, Asian and African expert?
    2. One delegate each from (say) New England Journal of Med, JAMA, National Academies Institute of Medicine, AMA, and maybe a couple more. Basically, hit the big and respected medical groups who have a “trusted voice” in the USA (and by extension, are respected internationally). (Let’s call them the “publishers”.)
    3. The publishers confer among themselves and decide the most pressing questions clinicians need answered, form their own consensus on the exact wording of their WRITTEN questions, and then submit their written questions to the panel. I suggest written questions instead of “discussions” between publishers and panel because on so many of the questions facing clinicians people can have endless and honest discussions, and we want to avoid that in deference to the panel and their time constraints.
    4. The panel can discuss the questions submitted, discuss, and make a consensus recommendation (as best they can) and convey their consensus back to the publishers. Written would be good, because then they won’t get the “you said” from people, their recommendations are there in written form to see exactly what they said, no more and no less.
    5. The publishers could then publish the panel’s consensus opinions, can put their own “caveats” on them, and put them out stating, “… These are the consensus of some of the best and brightest, and we publish them for your consideration.” I think the publishers don’t necessarily need to formally “own them”, but that they’re making their audience aware of them because they are the best we have, based on TODAY’S understanding, and they could change going forward.
    6. Daniel’s experiences are second to none, and they need to be out there for all to consider, even if they decide they want to attack a problem differently. Knowledge IS power, and we’re talking peoples’ lives and health! Consider this scheme, and of course, do it any way you want – I only send this to start the discussion on how to accomplish communication.
    Recently, people have been asking me where I think the pandemic is headed, and I tell them (sooooo sadly, sigh…) that based on opening too soon, and people’s reckless behavior, the number of people being diagnosed is spiking this week, in 10 days the hospitals will be overflowing, and in another 10 days we’re going to see (I’m sorry) a lot of death. It is what it is… I pray I’m wrong about this, but…
    On a lighter note, we don’t hear too much from Chuck Knirsch, and we know he’s new and trying to find his “voice”, but we know he wouldn’t be a part of your merry group if he didn’t have serious information to share, so we’re looking forward to hearing more from him.
    Lastly, VINCENT, I don’t think you’re grumpy, I just think you don’t “suffer fools gladly”, although I know you’d never call anyone a fool. I wholeheartedly agree that politicians have politicized the pandemic, and trying to use the pandemic for one’s political ends is the most obscene action I can possibly imagine. (I can’t get started on this one or my head will explode!)

  11. Margie Guillot Jul 29, 2020

    Hi, TWiV!

    At 2:07 Brianne comments on the data in the article about fabrics for masks. “I like this data. It’s very interesting.”

    Tou guys were looking at the article “Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks” (Publication Date:April 24, 2020

    Take a look at this video – after explaining the article, the presenter goes to the store and shows what the fabrics used in the article look like. Vincent- you can see what chiffon is!

    I am not 100% convinced by her conclusion that 1 layer of stretch chiffon is 87% effective. (My understanding of the paper was that it was studied layered with quilter’s cotton.)

    She does however do a good job of explaining the paper to non-scientist-sewers, though. Especially as it would be very easy to NOT pay attention to what fabrics were actually studied. (Their names/labels can be misleading).

    Ironically, the video summarizing this paper eventually led me to TWiV in YouTube!

    I was researching cooler face masks as MS makes me heat sensitive. A mask makes it much worse.

    I am up to 6 different patterns/fabric choices. Results of experiment so far: don’t leave the house again til September. Which is what I’d decided to do before I began researching & experimenting with masks.

    (Just FYI, I can’t comment yet on the stretch chiffon mask’s coolness. My next step will be to use the stretch chiffon in a mask. I did other combinations first that are easier to sew then a stretch fabric.)

    Keep on TWiVing!