Nick Acheson writes:

Hi Twiv guys,

Look at this opinion piece published Nov 17 in the Globe and Mail. It suggests making rapid antigen tests available across the country, 1M per week (for 33M residents). Why don’t more people understand how this approach could be a life-saver? (the second author is Chair of my department at McGill)

Tim writes:

Hi Vincent,

I am a pre-COVID TWIV listener, and love the work you do. You guys give the science facts a thinking person needs to be able to reason about the risks of COVID. TWIV forms the meaty filling, in a news-media club sandwich of left wing, right wing, topical filling and off-the-wall relish. I, like many others, have had to create this media diet sandwich to try and make sense of the world, as left and right ‘mainstream’ news seems to be more fear driven counter-narratives and political talking heads than informative journalism at the moment.

The relish in my sandwich is a global news analysis show hosted by Adam Curry, the creator of podcast technology. It is similar to TWIV, in that it is donation funded, analysis driven, relatively impartial, unique in perspective and fascinating in content (which is also shared with the listener in show notes)

[ks: I think the show is called No Agenda, twice a week. Oh yes, he finally says that about 4 paragraphs below]

You are constantly rakenyelling rhetorical questions on TWIV like:

– “I still do not get why it is politically motivated”  ep#674 T01:01:00 ish…


– “Where do they get this stuff?”

This show may answer some of your questions. If nothing else you should check out their ‘Time, Treasure, Talent’ donation/participation business model as it has kept them running for more than 12 years and i think TWIV can do something similar.

The show is called No Agenda and episode #1290 has a clip from TWIV. In this episode they use a clip of your interview with Fauci, where you ask the question about PCR cycles, and he says anything above 35 cycles is not useful. This is important to their analysis, because of their assertion that the WHO guidelines are 40 or more cycles (which they cover in the previous Episode #1288), which if true, is concerning.

The clip is used in reference to their controversial assertion that for some unknown reason, the PCR testing guidelines given by the WHO seem to be wrong, and erring on the side of global lockdown. An overview of their evidence is here:

I think this is something that the TWIV team can easily address, having better sources for testing guidelines and a science based perspective.

Thanks again to you and the TWIV team for all you are doing!

Best regards,


Debby writes:

If I recall correctly, you mentioned face masks with copper in TWIV #685, and I see that you’ve covered this topic in earlier episodes as well. 

What do you think of this alternative?

A new and loyal listener.


Winnipeg MB

Perry writes:

Hi TWiV team, 

This is the original story on the half dose. It was the initial UK participants in the 18-55 group. 

Oxford scientists accidentally give patients wrong dose in coronavirus vaccine trial – Mirror Online



Sheffield, UK

Anonymous writes:

The culled animals are mostly burned in waste incinerators. At some  point they ran out of capacity and buried some mixed with lime on some  government land (military base, I think). There have been a few cases of  botched culling. Happens when you rush a lot of people into service, I  suppose, but very unfortunate and does not make for good PR.

Despite the lack of legal authority, the voluntary culling is mostly  over. The farmers were promised a premium if done by Monday and are almost done. They will undoubtedly get compensation.

Testing is proceeding in the affected region, but slower than I expected. Sequencing has not found any new cases of cluster 5.

So far the population has had very high confidence in the government’s handling of the pandemic. Works in places like Denmark. The confidence has taken a major hit due to the mink scandal. The high confidence is why the use of strong recommendations instead of legal mandates for things like isolation, quarantine, travel restrictions etc. has worked so well. There is fear that the reduced confidence will mean reduced compliance. I sure hope not, but we shall see.


PS. Something like 12C/54F outside. Was a nice, mostly sunny day.


The Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries has resigned. There may be further political fallout. After all, the culling order was clearly illegal, as has been admitted by the government and there are further problems surfacing.

The cost of the culling is guesstimated at 2 billion USD. Scaling by the GDP, that corresponds to about 120 billion USD in the US. Not exactly pocket change.

Bradley writes:

I’ve read through the Pfizer and Moderna protocols and if I understand them correctly, it seems you are seriously overestimating the potential impact, e. g., Alan said that the only way out is a vaccine and Vincent commented that if there is a vaccine there might not be a COVID chapter in the next edition of the virology textbook.

It appears that the vaccine studies are powered to detect a 60% reduction in the number of symptomatic cases. For the Moderna study you need two symptoms (some pretty non specific such as chills myalgia and headache) while for the Pfizer you need only one!! Prevention of severe disease is a secondary endpoint and I can’t figure out what they predict that will be. Even if that is 50% reduction (somewhat similar to influenza vaccine) is that enough? Only 100,000 deaths/year in US?? Over a million cases/yr?

If it is approved for prevention of disease, they may want to extend the trial to collect more data, But how many people would want to continue when they could easily get it. It may be years before that happens.

When HIV was the most important human infection there was an outcry that we needed a vaccine. What has happened is that the therapeutics are so good that in developed countries, treatment is no more complicated than that of diabetes or hypertension and is a chronic disease. Prevention of sexual acquisition is achieved by one pill/day.

Note that I am NOT an anti-vaxxer and think one of the most important dates in human history was May 14, 1796. I think we need to be clear about what we may be getting.

Loren writes:

Following up:

  • There was no nasal swab or saliva collection at my last visit with the study, but they did do nasopharyngeal swabs on both days I went in for the shots.
  • I didn’t note any axillary lymphadenopathy after the shots, but that is definitely one of the main things that they asked us to pay attention to.  The study’s symptom tracking phone app asked about it every day for a week after each shot.
  • I will pass on your assay suggestions the next time I talk with the study, which should be in a week or two (they call a lot).  

Keep on TwiVving.


Pauline writes:

A question has been buzzing around in my head, now louder since listening to your discussion today of the paper on Neanderthal DNA SNPS, ABO blood groups and a suggested association with more severe COVID disease. I am not a medical professional or even a scientist (unless you count social science as the foundation of law) but since discovering TWIV and the TWI discussion clusters, I have come back to the unpoisoned well again and again for enlightenment and I do my level best to keep up. 

I started reading about ABO blood typing, as you do, and discovered transfusion-related acute lung injury, TRALI. Acute because the course of TRALI is short, nasty and pretty deadly. Its severity appears to depend on, among other things, the blood type of the unfortunate receiving the mismatched blood product. Thing is, to my uneducated eye, TRALI looks a lot like the acute respiratory distress syndrome some people get with SARS COV2.  There are differences of course — for example I have not read that SARS2 disease will cause bloody sputum, or that destruction of red blood cells is observed. But there are similarities like clots in the lungs, ground glass opacity in lungs and kidney failure. And there is no treatment for TRALI it seems except time and organ support and ventilation. 

So my question and please forgive the depth of ignorance from which I ask it. Is it possible that the SARS2 virus is carrying something in its nasty packet that looks like mismatched blood to the body? I recall Vincent saying SARS COV2 looked like a virus that had gotten into the wrong host. Could the viral packet be carrying a protein that a bat would happily accommodate, but once introduced into a susceptible human, proves to be an impossibly grave insult? Diesel in the gasoline tank.  

Are TRALI and ARDS simply two different terms for everything that goes wrong with the lungs generally with rapidly advancing lung disease of any kind?

Could exposure to transfusions or blood products in the past set someone up for severe COVID? Could pregnant women who get COVID, by virtue of the fact their immune systems are aleady negotiating with a little foreigner hooked up to the grid, have protection against severe COVID lung disease?  Are the COVID-infected women who do better than male counterparts actually women who have had at least one pregnancy? I guess these are downline questions. The Googles seem to think about 25 million Americans each year receive some type of blood product. 

That was more than one question.  Thank you for your exceptional work.  And BTW I do believe, without evidence other than my own experience, that gardening is emerging as the single biggest therapeutic to COVID-angst so please continue! And I would like to know what virus attacked and killed my zucchini plants please. 

Best regards from a member of the great uncoiffed, 


Montréal (8C and overcast)

Kevin writes:

Hi Twiv,

I’m a relatively new listener, I found the TWiV podcast back in April as I was trying to become better educated on how to run my business in the midst of this unprecedented time. So first off, thank you, I have learned a ton listening to your show and have found it an incredibly well balanced and thought through commentary on current events of this pandemic.

A very brief background of me: I’m 32, I’ve been running my family’s mechanical construction company for almost 3 years now. We are a small to midsized company with about 300 employees and dozens of active jobsites around the greater Seattle area in Washington State. For all the physical work that we do in the field, there is obviously not the option to work remotely. However, I have roughly 100 corporate employees who we have currently in a state of: Working from home is the standard, but the office is open with restrictions for those that want to come in (mask wearing, distancing, etc.) Currently about 15%-25% of the office is full on a given day.

In your episode #675 you briefly talked about the balance of re-opening businesses while maintaining public health safety. Separately you also brought up that local governments should be weighing multiple metrics when making decisions such as opening up schools, restaurants, or bars.  I wanted to ask, if you were in my shoes, what would you be paying attention to in terms of public health metrics to make decisions about how much to re-open or encourage office presence?

While we have the technology and are mostly able to work remotely relatively well, being that we do physical installations and project teams mix and match all the time, I certainly see a loss of teamwork and camaraderie that is important not only for the business’s health, but I believe our employees mental health as well.

Thanks again for all the informative, level headed discussion. If I had my way, you guys would be the universally accepted voice of reason for our country.

Keep it up!


Marianne writes:

Hi TWiV team,

Hello from cool Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada where the temp is about 8 degrees Celsius and winter is coming.

I’ve been using TWiV podcasts to help with the avalanche of data on SARS-CoV-2.  It has made my daily walks with my dog more productive. Thank you so much for the work you all do. It makes a difference to us who are working so hard. 

Atlantic Canada is in an interesting place right now, as evidenced by the NY Times article below. In Nova Scotia today (October 29, 2020) have 10 active cases of COVID-19, and no new cases today. Anyone coming into our province from outside our “Atlantic Bubble” (defined as the four Atlantic Provinces with a population of about 2.4 million) must quarantine for 14 days and are followed by phone and/or email to ensure compliance. There are steep fines in place for those who have been caught not being compliant. Most of our cases in the past number of months have been identified during that quarantine period thus limiting the ability of the virus to spread widely in the community. Mask wearing is mandated for indoor gatherings and people are very respectful of that on the whole. Kids are back in school (9 years and older wearing masks indoors) and most activities are either not running, or are modified to accommodate smaller groups, wearing masks and being outdoors as much as possible. I think at some point there will be studies of how we’ve done it and I think in the end what will stand out, besides lower population density, will be our reliance and value on community. We’ve been through a rough 2020, with Nova Scotia being the site of the worst mass shooting in Canadian history, a helicopter crash off Greece killing 4 members of our military family, and a Snowbird (Canadian military acrobatic flying team) crash in BC that killed another Nova Scotian – all during our lock down period. Maybe this has helped people really appreciate how connected we are to each other. We often grumble about the changes we’ve had to institute in our lives, but we mask up and get on with it anyway. And in that way we’ve developed a pretty livable new normal, and maybe even delayed or avoided the worst case scenario for our economy.  We are hoping to delay the second wave here as long as we can and so far, we are doing ok.  To people saying it can’t be done, we (respectfully) disagree. Diligence and listening to good science and public health officials work.  We hope you guys will come visit Halifax again – once we all have access to a safe and effective vaccine.

Take care,