TWiV 693: Vax to the future

December 13, 2020

On this episode, FDA EUA for Pfizer mRNA vaccine, efficacy of AstraZeneca ChAdOx1 COVID-19 vaccine, and an orally administered drug that blocks SARS-CoV-2 transmission in ferrets.

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

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Download TWiV 693 (69 MB .mp3, 115 min)
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Links for this episode

Weekly Science Picks 1:42:53

Dickson2020 In Photos: A Year Like No Other
BrianneCooking for Geeks
AlanOn Food and Cooking
RichNASA Artemis (Wiki)
VincentThe virus, the bats, and us

Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees

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5 comments on “TWiV 693: Vax to the future

  1. John Hempel Dec 13, 2020

    The classic reply to invitations to engage with InfoWars and the like is, “Thank you, but I think it will look better on your resume than mine.”

  2. Richard Cornell Dec 15, 2020

    We have reach 300,000 (DEAD) people who decided that this virus is not so bad after all. While some did mask, most it seems did not. For what ever reason the decided that it looks foolish to mask, Donald Trump most of the time was seen unmasked so why should they worry.
    Trump was right about one thing that this virus to the majority of his voters it is little more than a flu to the other older folks it is a killer. I started to mask way back in January in public when I first heard about the serious of this in TWiV # 584 I told those who question my sanity that I had the flu. It worked.
    President Biden will say that everyone must mask. Good luck on that being followed. There are always people who go their own way just look at the death rate of smoking how it cripples the human body, but people are still smoking.
    HIV/AIDS was once a real killer, not it seems to be control by a pill a day. It still kills, around 16,000 (US) in 2017, yet people just brush it off.
    This virus will many more thousands because people do not mask, stay away from others or just do not think God will let them die this horrible plague.
    Guess people can be wrong about God!

  3. Laura Dec 16, 2020

    Dear TWiV,

    Let me just remind you, not all of your supporters are democrats. Scientific minds do not all think alike and that’s why science will continue to conquer. If we all thought the same, would we ever be successful in solving problems? Similarly, we cannot all think on the same wavelength on social and political issues. I encourage you to explore and learn what is really going on in this country. I changed my mind about hating Trump just a few months ago while also listening to your podcast 8-10 hours per week. What made me change my mind? My internal thoughts changed due to having cognitive dissonance, which prompted me to investigate “reality” further. First of all I couldn’t wrap my head around all of the negative reputation Abbott ID Now had. A paper from Dr Mina cleared that up for me, but why did NYU do that horrible study and not follow the test instructions, and why did anyone believe it? Not trying to be a conspiracy theorist, but make your own thoughts. It was the first rapid test and labs stuck to PCR because of its negative reputation which happened after Trump endorsed its use. Now we have antigen tests which we are being told to use to screen asymptomatics with due to PCR shortages and news is circulating misinformation once again. Apparently apple sauce and Coca-Cola test positive for SARS-CoV-2. My thoughts? The negativity towards less sensitive tests has played a role in order to keep us home and our businesses closed. Try to find lab personnel that think these less sensitive tests are “good.” The majority of lab techs and pathologists think we are irrational in using them, unless they listen to TWiV or understand the bigger picture.
    My second aha moment was finding out more actual truth about our president whom seems to be a conceded self-proclaiming Ahole on the surface. The first fact that struck me was that throughout his presidency, he has donated his entire salary every quarter to big causes. The more I researched the truth about him, the more pride I discovered as an American and veteran, and the more I saw him in a different light.
    Let’s be clear, I am JUST a Medical Laboratory Scientist, understaffed and burdened by this pandemic everyday of my life since March 13th, 2020. I discovered your wonderful podcast back around that time and it has been a staple for my thought consumption.
    Having said that, lately, I have noticed that some of you are getting more political which I don’t like much due to recently adjusting my political opinions; or maybe it’s just me becoming more aware.
    I was listening to TWiV 693 today and at approximately 92 mins in, I felt compelled to write this letter. I can’t hold back my thoughts, especially after the recent Hotez podcast episode. I respect you all deeply, but I also expect more out of you regarding political opinions. While I understand we can’t all think exactly the same politically, it’s apparent that a large amount of Americans are questioning what’s really going on right now in this country, and not just the “far right” that you have put down. I am speaking up because unfortunately politics have a role to play in our science. A few months ago I wouldn’t have thought twice about your political views expressed by the TWiV hosts and guests. However, SARS-CoV-2 has constantly made me reevaluate every truth while fighting this pandemic in my field. There are many pandemics going on right now and the misinformation pandemic exceeds that of Covid-19. We have been constantly inundated with Covid-related information, but even in the medical field, professionals don’t seem to understand how to interpret it the entire impact. And it’s not just misinformation regarding Covid. Some have taken advantage of all aspects.
    Mainstream media doesn’t portray truth, not even NPR. The news is all driven by a few big corporations which rely on regulating our thoughts to drive our actions towards their own goals. They rename themselves to disguise whom really regulates them. Sound like a familiar George Orwell story? It’s not that far-fetched considering how news travels these days. Additionally, social platforms regulate the information that many hear, taking down that which is deemed to be “misinformation” but is really against the companies’ interest. On Tiktok, I personally witnessed the horrible allowance of a Muslim woman on a plane making a parody out of the song “Rockstar” by Post Malone with the lyrics “Flying a plane into a building screaming Allahu Akbar.” I kept seeing this post for at least a week and people were complaining but it was not taken down. This was a terrorist glorifying the events of 9/11, yet Trump supporters expressing valid distrust about legal votes are removed more promptly. There is definitely something wrong going on. Maybe I am MAsshole, but I live in a very liberal state very close by Alan Dove. The politicians constantly give us these sad stories about individuals whom we all feel bad for and keep raising our taxes. At what point does socialism overtake us all? At what point does the American dream die and we all keep giving up our hard earned money to support socialism? Capitalism is about the individual working hard to achieve their ultimate goals and desires. Handouts, while necessary at times, kill the motivation to work hard and diminish the rewards for those whom do. There’s a reason why we are called “Taxachusetts” and “MAssholes.” MA has had “Obamacare” since before that was even a term. The plan for Obamacare was modeled by our state.
    This election isn’t about dems vs reps. It’s about a fight for our personal freedoms that have been taken away, exaggerated by COVID, and the truth of whom really won the election. For many of us, it’s hard to believe that Biden won. He is a man with zero real ideas—a puppet that stands for nothing but living in his basement out of fear. He even misreads his teleprompts and gets stumped. Come on man! You are all so smart and I can’t understand how you are falling for it all!
    So in regards to Tony’s fix, I have many many many thoughts. Rich was right. You cannot fight the
    Conspiracy theorists or anti-vaxers. They will take small clips and edit your conversations to make their main points valid and publish blipps of what they want heard to prove their points. This is what President Trump talks about with fake media, and exactly what has been happening regarding coverage of him during his presidency for the most part.
    FYI Fox News isn’t liked by Trump supporters. Info wars isn’t either. The problem is the media doesn’t speak for the majority of Trump supporters. We are truth seekers. We are the grand jury questioning reality and seeking for reality in this world of virtual reality.
    By the way, what’s with Hotez? And even worse, all of you going along with his political views. Far right? Why are you all talking about far right? Far left is responsible for defunding police, BLM, Antifa and allowing the loophole for voting discrepancies to happen to a one-sided advantage.
    The far left is the one responsible for violence and destruction of personal and public property. For example,
    BLM did this to a monument that African Americans should be proud of, as well all, because it’s a part of our American history. The first regimen of African American soldiers which was vandalized by BLM. Far right aren’t about destruction and that is where you are all so wrong. We are conservatives whom support and defend the rights of the constitution of the USA according to our founding fathers. We fight for the rights of the underprivileged while the other side pretends to. Many of us have taken the oath not just once, but multiple times. I have personally taken the oath 5 times.
    Sorry for the long email, but politics are definitely intertwined with our science. It’s all about $$$!
    On a lighter note, I have been working on a very nice poem for you all. I will send it next time around. I highly doubt you will read this email over the podcast because it’s too edgy. In the meantime, my picks are “Trump Card” and “Trump 2024.” I challenge you all to watch them and question “what’s really going on.” I appreciate you all very much!
    With much love and American pride ,

    • Frank Rubino Dec 16, 2020

      Send all of your money to the Trump campaign fund. Sell your car , your house and cash out your retirement money . It will be appreciated and you will get a warm tingly feeling all over.

  4. Janet Dec 16, 2020

    Dear TwiVvers,
    Mustelid mayhem: don’t forget they say weasels are Weaselly Identified, stoats are Stoatally Different… And ferrets are freaky?!
    When you say here that ferrets can pass it on to each other is that by fecal/oral route or… I mean given relative resistance to the intra-nasal innoculation, or is it that given infection achieved, much greater shedding? Would that have any implications for the mechanism of the pro-drug?
    About the vaccines, what significance will it have for the 2 years of follow up if people end up getting an assortment of vaccines either because of availability initially or at time of any booster- will the vaccine companies agree to collaboratively study these outcomes?

    Epic Raccan-swearing btw! An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure…
    And relating to this a more general observation: we have had systemic weaknesses with regards to public health that mean we still have plenty of field to experiment/trial in; the Chinese on the other hand, having controlled the virus, no longer have that available locally to them which may be an impediment to further research trials. I guess humanity gains from both kinds of reaction- we end up having proof of concept for controlling transmission and proof of concept for disease prevention either by vaccination or emerging therapies. The upshot being, if we collaborate transparently we should be well prepared as a species for the next pandemic 🙂
    My brother (infectious disease consultant, Glasgow Queen Elizabeth) has had his first Pfizer shot last week- with not even local pain… hopefully not a sign it had gone off! :-0
    Hopefully we’ll soon have data on prevention of transmission after vaccine from these settings. I do hope there is some benefit there- years more distancing will be hard. Our father is 97 so it could be his last years are under the shadow of this pandemic 🙁