TWiV 700: ‘Twas COVID and the aerosols

December 31, 2020

TWiV reviews additional data on the UK variant of SARS-CoV-2, the distinct variant spreading in South Africa, association of afucosylated antiviral IgG with severe COVID-19, approval of AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK, and winners of the pandemic poem contest.

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Rich Condit, Kathy Spindler, and Brianne Barker

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Links for this episode

Weekly Picks 1:57:24

BrianneReady Player Two
KathyBert Hubert’s Reverse Engineering of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
RichBoston Dynamics running robots
VincentFever by John Fuller

Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees

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11 comments on “TWiV 700: ‘Twas COVID and the aerosols

  1. Johnye Ballenger Dec 31, 2020

    Didn’t know where you INCREDIBLE scientists of the universe would see this, so I left a comment on YouTube and here as well.

    “Professors Barker, Condit, Spindler and inimitable Racaniello: This is a link to British independent medical analyst, and retired nurse educator, John Campbell, PhD, YouTube post from Wed morning. He provides an answer to Rich’s question about the dosing of the Oxford-AstraZeneca, COVID19 vaccine. He reports, “3 months”, between the 1st vaccine dose and 2nd. https://youtu.be/l3B7PyXblXY.

    There is separate upload for his daily SARS-CoV-2 and COVID19 YouTube update. Among other things, he covered more about the vaccine’s design and efficacy; number of doses being produced globally and their distribution; and the estimated cost per dose of vaccine: the equivalent of “$3.00”.

    CONGRATULATIONS TWiV Krewe Extraordinaire My wishes for your continued strength and stamina into what I hope is a Healthier, Better New Year for all!!! “

  2. Suzanne Dec 31, 2020

    While listening I looked up synonyms of alleged and couldn’t really find one I felt had the right connotation of questionableness. Maybe just urging journalists to use “possible/possibly” would work.

  3. Jon Duvick Dec 31, 2020

    Hi Vincent and all,
    Congratulations on 700 episodes of TWIV! Keep up the great work.
    Just a comment regarding the possible emergence variants with increased transmissibility: This seems to me NOT surprising in the least! This is a relatively ‘new’ virus in the human population, and given that infection is a stochastic process, why would we not expect it to be sampling the available sequence space, driven by the only process that ‘matters’ to a virus (ability to infect new hosts)? This despite the fact that it’s already pretty good at spreading. Evolution happens!
    I would also point out Ralph Baric’s latest publication focussing on D6145G and its relative competitiveness in various model systems including primary human airway epithelial cells. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/370/6523/1464. I expect he is all over the new variants and might be worth inviting back as a guest.
    Thanks for your continued efforts, y’all!

  4. Tim Escher Dec 31, 2020

    Excellent episode. Congratulations on 700!
    I want to state again that I immensely respect Rich and his approach. He is a consummate scientist, always willing to question no matter where it leads, and correcting himself when needed. All of you are great, but I’m a super fan of Mr. Condit! 🙂

  5. Tom Steinberg Dec 31, 2020

    Is that a Fauci bobblehead on R.C.’s desk; also RBG?
    At ~ 20 min., re “alleged” — try — apparent — may be what you are looking for, thus: apparently more transmissible.
    Each new virus begins new lessons in immunology, salient generational example (I’m 70) being HIV.

  6. Hmm… after spending much of 2020 learning Virology and Immunology… now we have a variant and have to learn Epidemiology?…Meteorite 2021?? bring on Astrophysics!

    I’m not sure there is as much science behind the new variant as there is technology. But I think I need to read more… Rich was very level as usual. I really enjoyed his Immunological moment… I think I will clip that and send it in by email. The Rich needs to smile arc needs tweaking.

  7. John Hempel Dec 31, 2020

    I perked up at Dr. Condit’s brief mention of the Novavax antigen, which sounded like it might be the Spike protein with a C-terminal hydrophobic tail enabling it to form some sort of micellar-like structure. Skipping thru a few papers afterwards it seems that the antigen is the S-protein itself with the now-familiar two proline substitutions as also encoded by the Pfizer and Moderna RNAs, and also the arginines of the furin cleavage site replaced with glutamines. That product self-assembles into trimers as they do on the SARS capsid, and sometimes into dimers of trimers, all delivered in a proprietary “Matrix M”.

    Otherwise, the observations on Ab fucosylation are intriguing. And today, as I gather, on the one-year anniversary of the initial report from China of a new and vigorous respiratory virus.

    • John Hempel Jan 1, 2021

      I perked up at Dr. Condit’s brief mention of the Novavax antigen, which sounded like it might be the Spike protein with a C-terminal hydrophobic tail enabling it to form some sort of micellar-like structure. Skipping thru a few papers afterwards it seems that the antigen is the S-protein itself with the now-familiar two proline substitutions as also encoded by the Pfizer and Moderna RNAs, and also the arginines of the furin cleavage site replaced with glutamines. That product self-assembles into trimers as they do on the SARS capsid, and sometimes into dimers of trimers, all delivered in a proprietary “Matrix M”.

      Otherwise, the observations on Ab fucosylation are intriguing. And today, as I gather, on the one-year anniversary of the initial report from China of a new and vigorous respiratory virus.

      [I think this will come thru as an edit}: Here’s a great summary of the whole Novavax story. I wonder if spikes expressed in vaccinated individuals via Pfizer or Moderna RNA’s will self-assemble into trimers to any extent? https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/11/will-small-long-shot-us-company-end-producing-best-coronavirus-vaccine

  8. Desmond Wong Jan 2, 2021

    Really like the content on this channel. Provides detail I can’t get from mainstream media. They seem to be all headline bullet points on a PowerPoint slide presentation. The question on transmissibility on the uk variant resonated with me as, I’ve been asking “what does transmissibility mean”. You guys have answered that. I’m sharing your work on my Facebook page to help educate my friends (well the few that are curious and want to know about why and how).

  9. Jose Lepe Jan 2, 2021

    Dear Twivers: I have to insist on this. I have previously sent you all a comment regarding the value of the PCR ct value when a sample is taken from nasal mucous. There is simply no way such a result can be a reliable quantitative value. There are many variables involved in the sampling to be standardized. Time of day, amount of mucous of the person, skill of the operator, day of the infection, etc. This will make the result qualitative at best. Drawing conclusions or forecast clinical outcome from a single PCR test would be as equivocal as drawing a conclusion from leukocyte count from an unknown amount of blood. A quantitative result needs a reliable denominator which mucous is not.
    Totally agree with Vincent…. There is not and will not be clean, reproducible results using a PCR quantitative value employing an unknown amount of denominator (mucous) for the test. A similar result from a known amount of blood could be by far more reproducible and valuable.

  10. Richard Cornell Jan 2, 2021

    If I heard it right that the new variant was seen around the world almost over night even with lock downs in place. Could it be that it is not a new strain but the same strain that has under gone a mutation on its own. It has grown up. Or in a new stage.
    I only have limited knowledge on what your talking about. Most of it goes over my head or into my ears and out just as quickly.
    As you have said that this new variant might be worst then anything so far experience. Killing off a faster number of people that needed not have been infected.
    From my view point being a Republican it is killing off a lot of stupid Republicans who do not mask, might say that God is cleaning the house. Those with old ideas about the real world will soon be gone.
    Laugh at me about wearing a mask.
    Ha! Ha! Ha!

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