Charles writes:

As you look through NPR this morning at the Peter Daszak article:

Don’t miss the vector article:

Normally I would say enjoy the read, but I cannot enjoy reading about a new mosquito in the US.



Robin writes:

Hi, You read a letter from Josh on Sunday’s TWIV that eviscerated California’s vaccine procedure. That was not my experience at all.  I am a school librarian who has been working with students since October in the Learning Hub so I’ve been exposed all year (no infection, tested twice so far).  My school sent me a notice to get a vaccine through the MyTurn website.  I registered within 10 minutes, and had my first vaccine two days later.  I received my second vaccine last week, they sent me a reminder to get my second vaccine through my email and via text message which was great.  I went to the drive through vaccination site at the Oakland Coliseum and I have to say this was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had getting a vaccine (faster than getting my flu vaccine at RiteAid).  It was quick, extremely well organized and I must say the FEMA people are wonderful.  My husband is not eligible yet but I put him on the list.  The  great work being done made me hopeful.  It seems like Josh is just pushing a political agenda that California government is incompetent.  

Stay healthy!


Lisa writes:

Hello TWIV crew!

As far as I know, bats and U.S. slaughterhouses have few direct connections, but as “just” a veterinarian who has worked with both entities at different stages of my career so far, I have a few comments. 

Many episodes ago (I believe around 600, but apologies for my incredibly late response), there was a brief discussion about bats’ modulated inflammatory response due to their high metabolic rate based on the physiological demands of flight. This led to pondering if bats had greater immune responses during hibernation or torpor. They don’t. Along with all other metabolic processes, the immune response is essentially zero during hibernation. This minimal response is a reason why hibernating species of North American bats have been ravaged by Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causative agent of White-Nose Syndrome. As my supervisor described to me when I began WNS research with him, the bats are just little bags of meat hanging in a refrigerated cave. P. destructans is a fairly wimpy fungus that can be readily cleared by a fully functioning immune system or, on surfaces, killed by many disinfectants. However, when bats rouse and begin to react to the infection, they will often have an overexuberant response similar to that of AIDS patients who have a sudden increase in immune function following treatment. So, even bats can experience cytokine storms.

Although I am not aware of any evidence for infection of North American bats with beta-coronaviruses, a number of state wildlife agencies were issuing orders preventing the rehabilitation of native bats lest an infected human pass on the virus to a bat that could later be released and create a wildlife reservoir in North America. This would have the inadvertent effect of further endangering the public when untrained people come into contact with a sick bat and they handle the bat because the trained (and rabies vaccinated!) people can’t assist.

I have lots of opinions about working and inspecting in slaughterhouses during this time, but I don’t think my superiors would appreciate me sharing those.

Thank you so much for being a continuing light in this dark time. 

Lisa Last, DVM

Eugene, OR

Partly cloudy 51oF/10oC 

PS: I showed the picture of the chicken breast in TWIP 185 to some of my very experienced colleagues. We all agreed that the “worm” was likely just connective tissue. 

Kermit writes:

Dear TWIV,

I’m a retired book publisher and editor who retired from publishing to go to Physician Assistant school several years ago. I grew up in Montana, did 20 years of penance in New York City and now live in Vermont where it’s a beautiful, sunny spring day with temperatures pushing towards 60.

Episode 729 has a brief mention of the term apoptosis with discussion of how many different pronunciations of the term are used. Unfortunately, none of those examples mentioned were correct.

I just so happen to keep the original article proposing the term on my desktop:

Interestingly, the article bothers to include a footnote on page 241 explaining the pronunciation of the term.

The word ” apoptosis ” (:T6:cToaIa) is used in Greek to describe the

” dropping off ” or ” falling off ” of petals from flowers, or leaves from trees. To show the derivation

clearly, we propose that the stress should be on the penultimate syllable, the second half of the word being pronounced like ” ptosis ” (with the ” p ” silent), which comes from the same root ” to fall ” and is already used to describe drooping of the upper eyelid.

In short, it’s pronounced like app-toe-sis with accent on the middle syllable. This is a pronunciation I’ve NEVER heard used by an instructor or a medical professional.

I’m hoping you’ll like this insofar as no one seems to have this term right.

Keep up your good work. I’ve been a fan of TWIV since I did Vincent’s online Coursera course in one of its early iterations. Those Coursera courses inspired me to retire and go to PA school!



Jerry writes:


First, thank you for your fabulous podcast and keeping us (meaning the world) informed about all things SARS-CoV2 and COVID-19.

This one is for Brianne since she mentioned the Hamilton song on TWIV #726 and for Vincent who said that he thought this was the best song in the musical. The HERO Registry is a NIH-funded prospective registry of health care workers who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

As you can appreciate better than most, communication is challenging but oh, so important. Members of the HERO research team have put together this parody of the Hamilton song that you like so much. Full disclosure- while I am not one of the HERO investigators, I am in the registry. Enjoy!

Jeffrey (Jerry) G. Jarvik MD MPH
Professor, Radiology and Neurological Surgery
Adjunct Professor, Health Services, Pharmacy and Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
Co-Director, Comparative Effectiveness, Cost and Outcomes Research Center
Director, UW CLEAR Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders
University of Washington School of Medicine

Colleen writes:

Dear Twiv

I would have never thought I would have traded in watching nail art and hair tutorials to listen to a podcast on virology…But here we are ! You have sparked an interest in all things virology/immunology and science that I never knew was in me! I’ve never been a book worm or very good at school really – but after the pandemic hit – I got sick in March, and no one knew why I continued to be sick for so long. I found groups online, It was great to know there were others like me – but I needed to understand this virus. Or at least listen to ppl that were breaking it down, discussing the facts! And that has been you ALL!  I listened to every single one of your podcasts since I found you and I anxiously await each one! I learned and UNDERSTAND terms  I never thought I’d be able to pronounce and even became the person friends came to to help decipher information. Trying to understand how this virus worked and following the science on what was developing as it was happening helped me feel empowered and motivated me to forge ahead no matter how dire things seemed when I never thought I would get better ! You helped me understand and feel confident  in the vaccines and able to encourage friends and family who were on the fence. And even better – listening to Dr. Griffin, who I jokingly refer to as my doctor husband to my actual husband (I’m not sure, but I’m sure he’s fine with it😂) I felt confident in getting the vaccine even after there was no clear consensus on what to expect since I am a long hauler with a history of multi system inflammatory reactions (Kawasaki disease, then the full on assault Covid attempted). All I heard was “never miss a chance to vaccinate” in Dr. Griffin’s voice in my head. I received my first Pfizer 3/6/21 a week before my one year covidversary. Thank you for sparking this interest in me, I already have some classes I am ready to enroll in as soon as I’m done with my hopefully successful cognitive rehab with the Mt Sinai post Covid clinic. Thank you for trusted science, facts and not only education but comfort ♥️

Also I really hope the National Bobble head company listens to my suggestion to make bobble heads of your crew to put next to my Dr Fauci bobble head! 


John & Ruth write:

Dear Twivers:

We are supporters of TWIV, and enjoy even the arcane discussions.

The clinical updates are a much appreciated weekly summary, too.

The question we’d like to present is:

Could you comment on a possible timeline for evaluation of molnupiravir?

The summary below referenced this abstract:

Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections 2021: Abstract SS777. Presented March 6, 2021

Summarized below.

John & Ruth

A Smile is Contagious, too! (S.Pastis)

Karin writes:

Dear TWiV,

One of our biology teachers here at the high school where I am librarian recommended TWiV to me many months ago, and I have been an avid follower and fan ever since. As a layperson with just enough Google skills, and a big enough lack of science background, I find myself going down rabbit holes all the time.

My question: If one has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and is afforded the opportunity to get a vaccine, should said person get it as soon as possible, or wait until immunity wanes, to get more bang for the buck so to speak. I understand the public health response is to get vaccinated asap. However, given that seropositive individuals have greater reactogenicity after a single vaccine shot (than a seronegative person after a single vaccine shot), I wonder if this person would have greater reactogenicity getting vaccinated on the heels of the infection – versus say 3 months later. 

Or, does natural immunity grow enough over the course of 3 months so that reactogenicity would be greater 60-90 days after initial infection (with the vaccine, antibodies increase over time, right?). In our area, supply is not an issue anymore so taking someone else’s place in line isn’t a concern. Is there any suggestion that this question even matters? Can you help me get out of this rabbit hole?

Thank you for being a rock in this storm.


Library Media
Knox County Schools

Scott writes:

TWiV Team:

Greetings from northern Wisconsin.  I am just a high school shop teacher.

Just a quick thanks for all the information that you generously provide weekly.  I found your podcast in April of 2020 and have been a listener ever since.  I have gone on to listen to a number of the YouTube virology lectures from Vincent to get a better understanding of both the subject matter and the banter.  With your help, I felt better as to how to prepare myself when we opened school as normal in September.  We have been 4 days a week, Monday-Thursday in person about as normal as before the pandemic, distancing where we could and doing some sanitizing, at least once a day with electrostatic sprays.  For background, Friday is our day to prepare and record lessons for the following week as we are not doing synchronous at home learning, our online students struggle with internet availability.

Our building is 1981 construction and the air handlers are of that era in design.  The big plus was we required masks, and though there were a few grumpy students to start with, most did as students do, and simply adjusted.  We have had our share of cases, but have remained remarkably low I feel in large part to our staff and students keeping masks on and staying as apart as we could.  Masking I truly feel saved us.

Cases in Wisconsin spiked early and in this provided link you will see a correlation to our state being inside and particularly when schools almost all reopened, September 1.  I feel like someone could get their PhD studying our state. Our Supreme Court over ruled almost all mitigation in May 2020 and we have been just about wide open since.  Our Governor did manage to issue a mask mandate as shown on the chart as well, August 2020.  Our cases peaked before Thanksgiving and our traditional 9 day deer hunting where 10’s of thousands gather at deer camps.  We continued to fall through Christmas and although there is a reporting bump right at Christmas, it nicely fills the drop that also exists during that same time frame.  I really believe we ran out of persons that were out and around who could get it. My own words, “we ran out of idiots.”  Bars and restaurants have been full almost from May 2020 on, but once we went inside in September the cases finally reflected our behavior.  Our numbers are almost certainly under reported, as I know dozens of recently graduated students who experienced the classic symptoms and signs of COVID, yet never were tested as not to lose jobs or be quarantined from college.  Many others in the middle aged group also avoided testing as to not affect jobs, I feel strongly we are at least a factor of 2 off of the reported 550,000 plus cases. So assuming the possibility of 1 million cases and the 1.1 million first vaccine shot folks we now have, could we really be approaching a tipping point?  Our case number are about 450 per day and percent positive at 2%.  We only have 4.7 million persons 16 and older so maybe 2 – 2.25 million with some measure of protection? We are vaccinating 250-300,000 per week so, mid April 3 – 3.5 million with some measure? 70-75%??  Just curious as to what you might think, and maybe a pitch to all those out there that hope is on the horizon.  Here I will include some screenshots from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a link so you can refer to what I am looking at.

Lastly, its crazy and frightening when your county hits 2,200+ cases per 100,000, and your neighbors are turned away from hospitals.  Wisconsin paid a high toll, and many families are forever changed.  I managed to get my 75+ year old mother in for her shot and was fortunate to receive mine as well, Pfizer it was, and we get second doses St. Patrick’s day.

Please know that in any the days that you may have wondered what the hell we as a country were doing, or if anything you as individuals or as a collective could accomplish, your podcast, your steady voices, your wonderful way of inviting the “nubbies” into your world provided many, including myself, with comfort and knowledge.

My very sincerest thanks to you all!

PS I teach in Hayward and you should all check out the American Birkebeiner cross country ski race sometime.


Rice Lake, WI.

Adam writes:

Greetings Dr. Racaniello,

Not sure, but I thought you might find this interesting. I am in the Janssen phase III trials and I just talked to the people there. They are moving  everyone’s next in person appt earlier, starting first with those over 60 years of age. After the blood draw they are going to unblind everyone and offer the vaccine to those who received the placebo. I had previously thought that they would do the “:blinded crossover” method, but I guess they got what they wanted from this particular trial. 

Thank you so much for TWIV I discovered it several months ago and now consider it an essential part of my news and general information consumption, plus it is just plain fun. I am gradually exploring the back catalog as well as other channels on microbe TV. I can’t thank all of you enough and keep up the good work.



Bronwen writs:

Dear Team Twiv, 

Greetings from Sydney Australia, where it is a mild Autumn day currently 20 degrees Celsius (68F). 

I am one of the many non-scientists who found your podcast during Covid. Your reasoned, collegial voices have been the soundtrack to my days, in what has been, even in Australia with relatively low numbers, a challenging year. So much so, that when I heard the news of the Texas freeze, my first thought was for Rich and his family! 

Following Dickson and Rich’s interest in the recent NY Times articles on different countries and Covid, I thought you might be interested in this website, from an Australian think tank, which allows you to compare different countries on different factors. (At January 2021, so some things have changed since). You might wonder why an Australian think tank would be prioritising this – it’s possibly relevant to note that as a country with a relatively small population, (26m) Australians tend to be fixated on our place in the world, and really annoyed that our neighbour New Zealand has beat us in the Covid stakes.

Covid Performance – Lowy Institute

Categorising countries based on their population size revealed the greatest differences in experiences with the COVID-19 challenge. These results stand even after taking into account per capita indicators to evaluate performance, minimising the likelihood of a methodological bias against countries with more infections because they have larger populations. 

Thanks so much for your work. I’m proud to be a Patreon Patron, and am appreciating your ‘back catalogue’ – which may serve as a great resource when someone comes to write the definitive history of Covid. (Maybe a Covid version of Randy Shilts classic, And the Band Played On, in relation to HIV).  Not to mention all the other fascinating and scary virus stuff. 

Best wishes and stay safe, 


Sydney, Australia