Abby writes:

The fan letters I’ve written in my head have accumulated to the point of “fuggit just shoot off a note.” So:

Dickson’s breathing is fine. It’s part of the podcast. It’s not about production quality, it’s not about mixing, or equipment… it’s part of the podcast. I love it, because it’s part of what I’ve grown to know as the sound of comfort and new friends, and if the humanity and modesty were edited out, it wouldn’t be TWiV.

There are ~45—48 weightier topics that I could send my first email about, but… Happy New Weird. Vincent, Rich, Kathy, Brianne, and Dickson: thank you for being my friends.

Sincerest Gratitude.
Abby, MSIS
Training Coordinator II
UT SWORPS, Software Development and Systems Engineering Unit

Ray writes:

Dear TWIV team,

Something occurred to me lying in bed last night which appears to be a contradiction. I have learned from y’all that the vaccine is intended to prevent disease, not necessarily infection. Hence, Dr. Fauci has spoken about continuing to wear masks once vaccinated to prevent transmission. However, I’ve also heard Fauci mention reaching herd immunity through vaccinating a certain proportion of the population. What doesn’t make sense to me is how so-called “herd immunity” can be achieved if vaccination does not necessarily prevent infection (or transmission). What am I missing? Any help in correcting my thinking or explaining this logical inconsistency would be helpful. I am

Respectfully yours,

Ray from Texas
Renal Dietitian

Cathy writes:

Love you folks so much and the important work you do. 

I always learn something, even when most of it flies by 10 feet over my head.

Can you tell me (without laughing at my possibly stupid question) what would happen to someone if they were to receive a first dose of (for example) the Moderna vaccine but then follow it up 4 or 6 weeks later with the Astra Zeneca vaccine?

Might it nullify the immune response initiated by the first ‘brand’ of vaccine? What would likely happen in this circumstance? I realize that, due to lack of data, there wouldn’t be a definite answer. Will be happy with a supposition or a ‘probably’… Thank you so much!


Kathy writes:

Hello everyone! The shows get better and better! 

Re: naming an episode 

I suggest virema no. 5 as a title. 

To the tune from Mambo no. 5. 

Muscatine Iowa

Rich writes:

Your show is fantastic–I listen every single week to both the podcast and the clinical update.  

There was discussion on a recent show that serology might not be positive if you’ve been vaccinated.  Just wanted to give you a heads up that at least one serology test tests for Spike — DiaSorin Liaison.  PDF attached.  

I super enjoy everything I’ve learned from your podcasts as well as the perspective.  Your impact is huge! 

Best, -Rich Roberts


Richard W. Roberts, Ph.D. 
Professor of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science,
Molecular and Computational Biology, & Biomedical Engineering
Member, Norris Cancer Center
University of Southern California

Dave writes:

Dear Colleagues of the TWIVory League, 

My understanding is that when one cell is infected simultaneously by two (or more) viruses and the progeny is a mix of the two, this is called reassortment.  I am considering possible reassortment of sniffles corona with Covid-19. 

Does this include any alterations in the genetic code, or is it just a difference in the ensemble of glycoproteins that accessorize the capsid as the virus “steps out”?

Are the characteristics of the reassortment predictable?  When a large dog breeds with a small dog, one usually gets dogs of intermediate size.  However, the parameters of a virus that are important would be things like tropism, or recognition by antibodies, or binding sites etc.  Since we would expect these to be very sensitive to nuances in the capsid proteins, a seemingly small difference in capsid glycoproteins could cause these parameters to change in unforeseeable ways. 

In your judgement are sniffles corona and Covid-19 similar enough that reassortment will lead to significant numbers of viable progeny, or would they be neither fish nor fowl and be unlikely to result in further infection. 

Have you any historical examples of reassortments that you would like to share now? 

Thanks for all that you do, 

 Dr. Dave Jackson