TWiV 729: A floret of spikes with Matt Frieman

March 11, 2021

Matt Frieman returns to TWiV to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic from the point of view of a coronavirologist, including his work with Novavax on their spike protein-based vaccine.

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

Guest: Matt Frieman

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Download TWiV 729 (70 MB .mp3, 117 min)
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Links for this episode

Weekly Picks 1:43:29

DicksonCovid-19 deaths per million ranked by average income
BrianneKFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor for Feb 2021 and KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor Dashboard
RichThe Woman Who Stood Between America and a Generation of ‘Thalidomide Babies’ (wiki)
KathyQuadrantid meteor (Quadrantids)
VincentHigher Superstition by Paul Gross and Norman Levitt

Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees

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4 comments on “TWiV 729: A floret of spikes with Matt Frieman

  1. Gary Jennejohn Mar 11, 2021

    The youtube link points to TWiV 728 and not to TWiV 729. The MP3 link is correct.

  2. Kermit Mar 12, 2021

    Dear TWIV,
    In this episode there was a passing mention of the term “apoptosis” and the fact that there are many ways of pronouncing the term. I just so happen to keep on my desktop the original article that coined the term:

    In a brief footnote on page 241, the article actually addresses the pronunciation
    issue and it’s a pronunciation that I NEVER heard an instructor or medical professional use.

    The correct pronunciation is ap-toe-sis with the accent on the penultimate syllable. This makes sense if you consider “ptosis”, a commonly used medical term in which the “p” is silent.

    In any case, I hope you will find this interesting given the almost universal incorrectness in the medical and scientific world.

    Kermit Hummel

  3. JJackson Mar 13, 2021

    The discussion on the early treatment with Remdesivir and mAbs sadly did not get into diagnostics which I view as the neglected arm of the diagnostic, vaccines and therapeutics troika. It also became obvious in attempts to ring fence zoonotic influenza outbreaks that regardless of how good an antiviral you have it is not going to do much good if you do not have a rapid point-of-care diagnostic to go along with it. Mina and TWiV have fought the good fight in this pandemic but the absence of a regulatory framework allowing for public health, rather than therapeutic, diagnostics approval must be a priority in its aftermath if we are not going to have the same problem in future zoonotic outbreaks.
    I would be grateful if Vincent could consider, when he views the time is right, to try and get a guest who could throw light on the risks and possible hosts for establishment of a reverse-zoonosis reservoir. This seems to be a bigger potential long term problem with this virus than the extant bat Sarbeco gene pool.
    Many thanks for all the shows and all the hosts and guests.

  4. Brad Hillman Mar 15, 2021

    Dear Vincent and TWIV group,

    You raised important points about the term “virion” in your discussion in TWIV 729, but missed another important point. Yes, as you noted, virion is distinct from virus particle because virion is the infectious unit, and defective-interfering particles, etc., are excluded. But the term virion is especially important to plant virologists because in many cases, a complete infections virus (=virion) comprises more than one particle. Unlike animal viruses, in which individual RNA or DNA segments of divided genomes are almost always encapsidated together in a single particle (e.g., influenza and many others), plant viruses with divided RNA or DNA genomes often encapsidate those segments in separate particles. Well-studied examples include Brome mosaic virus (the virion comprising three icosahedral particles) or Barley stripe mosaic virus (the virion comprising three rod-shaped particles). So in many plant viruses, RNA or DNA segments encoding the replicase, the capsid protein, and the protein required for cell-to-cell movement may be encapsidated separately and travel separately as components of the complete virion in such viruses. Other similar arrangements as well.

    Keep up the great work,

    Brad Hillman
    Plant Biology, Rutgers