Ann writes:

Dear TWIV folk,

As a non-scientist, I rely on you for a scientific yet somehow entertaining perspective on the pandemic. 

I’m sure by now that you’ve seen the news that the virus was purportedly widespread in the US in December. 

This gives rise to several questions on which I hope you can shed light:

1) if there was indeed this level of infection in Mid December, wouldn’t we have been seeing evident community spread and excess deaths in January and February, especially as we were not wearing masks or social distancing at all? 

2) if there is a question about the specificity of the test that is being done on these blood samples, why not also do a similar test on samples from the same month the prior year, to see if what is showing up is ‘normal’ winter corona viruses, rather than Covid-19? 

3)  if it was indeed SARS2, is it possible that it was a less contagious and less virulent variant? It doesn’t seem to make sense otherwise.

Thanks for being a reliable and sometimes comprehensible resource. 

As my thanks, here is a limerick:

There once was a podcast called TWIV
They put papers and facts through a sieve
Is it true? Is it fake?
Is it oil of a snake?
If we listen, perhaps we will live!



June writes:

Hello, All:

Your letter about TRALI and ensuing discussion made reference to transfusion with the “wrong” blood type and red blood cells being lysed. TRALI  is NOT caused by transfusion with blood of incompatible red blood cell type. It is caused by transfusion with plasma (the liquid part of the blood) including the small amounts of plasma in transfused red blood cells and involves white blood cells and HLA type. HLA typing is not done for blood transfusion of any kind; it would be cost and time prohibitive. No one would get the blood they needed in a timely fashion.

Here’s a brief description of the etiology of TRALI and a link to the FDA information from which I copied this paragraph.

“The etiology of TRALI may be attributable to the presence of anti-HLA and/ or anti-granulocyte antibodies in the plasma of multiparous females or donors who have received previous transfusions. TRALI recipients have no specific demographics such as age, gender, or previous transfusion history. Although TRALI does not always occur through transfusions from donors with anti-HLA or anti-granulocyte antibodies, one or both of these antibody types have been found in 89% of TRALI cases.”

I am just a retired high school science teacher who has gone back to my first career in clinical laboratory science and am currently working per diem in a hospital transfusion services laboratory. The hospital where I work has never given a patient the wrong type of blood; it is exceedingly rare to do so in blood banking today. Your discussion of TRALI made it sound to the non-blood banker as if transfusion with the wrong type blood happens not infrequently. Please correct this information AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Thanks for all you do for virology and immunology but please stay away from immunohematology.

Mike writes:

I’ve recently read a claim by Dr. Stephen Malthouse that the “the PCR testing is not reliable and is meaningless for diagnosing COVID-19”.  I’m immediately skeptical of the claim because it’s published on the Vaccine Choice Canada website.  However, I’m very interested to hear the TWIV panel comment on the suitability of the PCR test for diagnosing SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Thank you for your time and attention.



Lisa writes:

Hello Vincent et al,

I found you after the pandemic hit the United States community. I live in a suburb of Sacramento California. I was looking for real information about this virus and particularly how it could spread if someone has no symptoms. Thank you all so much for the insight. I share the podcast with anyone who needs it or would be interested.

I entered a trial for the Regeneron “vaccine” in October. I am a healthy 53 year old woman who is physically active at work and thought I could help my country. I have not tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 ever and I have now had my second round of monthly injections. These are 4 injections in the abdomen once per month. I find it interesting and puzzling that there are 4 injections in the abdomen once a month for 6 months. 

So here are my questions for Brianne and anyone else with thoughts or ideas.

1. How do introducing specific antibodies into a naive individual create a durable immune response to a virus? I think I am starting to understand how antibodies, b-cells and t- cells work but I cannot make the connection to how antibodies alone can elicit a response without antigen.

2. Why the abdomen? I have heard of oral and muscle vaccines, but this is weird to me. Is it because the doses are so huge it won’t fit into the arm? Or is to lead the immune system to the lungs?

3. Why so much per round? 4 injections seems like a ton of vaccine, would anyone really say, “Yeah! I want that one!”?

4. I have not had a single reaction to the two rounds I have received so I was thinking I am in the placebo group, however, since it is just an antibody cocktail could it be that antibodies alone would not bring on any aches, pains or fever?

Thank you for your thoughts and response, once again I really appreciate you all and don’t miss an episode!

P.S. 3 hours is long but in my work, I fit it in! 

Best Regards,


The Scoop Pet Waste Management

Cheryl writes:

Dear Vincent, Rich, Kathy, Brianne, Dickson, Alan, and Daniel,

While most of 2020 may have sucked, there have been some incredible silver linings. My favorite is getting to know all of you. My weekly science pick is’s new holiday card templates, which I have used to make the enclosed card for you. I hope you all will be able to enjoy some fun “extrafollicular” activities this winter.


Cheryl in NH (where it is a devastating 55°F/13°C on this December 1st, as my skis wait patiently by the door)


Cheryl A. Guyre, PhD


Principal Scientific Consultant

Double Diamond Consulting, LLC