TWiV 732: Citizen science with Forest Rohwer and Maria-Isabel Rojas

March 18, 2021

Forest and Maria-Isabel join TWiV to discuss their their project to engage thousands of citizens to swab inanimate surfaces in the San Diego area, then send the samples to the Rohwer Lab for nucleic acid analysis.

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

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Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees

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5 comments on “TWiV 732: Citizen science with Forest Rohwer and Maria-Isabel Rojas

  1. Robert Johnston Mar 18, 2021

    I left this comment on your YouTube channel but will post here as well….

    Can you take some time very soon in a broadcast to discuss the concerns expressed by Geert Vanden Bossche ( Some people have ridiculed him but few have addressed his concerns factually from a scientific standpoint. His apparent credentials are giving him lots of credibility. His warning reinforces the message implied by a high % of healthcare professionals refusing vaccination. However, he speaks as a pro-vaccination person, not an anti-vaxxer, so his argument against the current process of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is different from what the anti-vaxxers put out (and thus they have themselves tried to rebut him, but by smearing him for his past association with the industry and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). As a layman I’m not qualified to respond, but he seems to be looking at a sort of ADE effect in relation to viral immune escape in the context of a population rather than just the individual. It would be helpful to have a serious, fact-based critique of his work by your team, that we lay people can understand as we make decisions about vaccination.

  2. Dennis Mathias Mar 18, 2021

    I wish that box would go away. It’s distracting.
    After listening for months..April?’s odd. You’re kind of like family. And if one member doesn’t show up I kind of wonder where they are. I’m not a very social critter from the get go but I seem to have no trouble listening to your well thought out but impromptu dialog. Don’t worry. We’ll all still be here when covid is a memory. I can’t wait for the.. next..yes, I can. But You’re who I go to. And I really like Dr. Griffith.
    When people call and ask what I’m doing I often say, sorry can’t talk right now. I’m in seminar. All the best to you all.

  3. John Hempel Mar 18, 2021

    Ref mention @ 58:40 on searching sewage for viral nucleic acid sequences, just a note on the importance of using the proper control, as established by my old colleagues in this publication.

    (Wordsearch the document for Shinola.)

  4. Dennis Revie Mar 18, 2021

    Regarding apoptosis, I heard a talk by one of the discovers of the process about 20 years ago, I don’t remember his name, as it was outside my area of research (I’m a biochemist). He said that there were at least 8 ways to pronounce apoptosis, and all of them were correct. I interpret it that they liked the name, but didn’t put much effort into thinking about how to pronounce it.

    On a seperate note, I would be very cautious interpreting covid-19 deaths by country. In the US, each state has their own interpretations of them. Some need a PCR test before death, some test them after death if they weren’t known positive. Scale that up to countries, and comparing them is rather tricky. Although you can compare BMI vs deaths by country, most of the variation is likely due to how quickly the country responded to the virus. Thailand, for example, had the first known case outside China, and immediately stopped visits unless they did a 14 day quarantine. The US had a faux quarantine, allowing 10s of 1000s of people from China and Europe ino the US. The countries in Asia that did well required masks right away and took other measures. Europe was also slow to take the virus seriously, particularly England and Sweden. This doesn’t mean obesity might be part of the disparity, but probably not the most important.

  5. Simon Zukowski Apr 28, 2021

    Fully agree with Robert Johnston’s comment. Please hold a thorough discussion of issues raised by Geert Vanden Bossche. Or better yet, invite him to the podcast.