TWiV 762: SARS-CoV-2 origins with Robert Garry

May 30, 2021

Robert Garry joins TWiV to explain how the molecular biology of SARS-CoV-2 shows that it came from Nature and not a lab, including the receptor binding domain, the furin cleavage site, and the two lineages circulating in Wuhan wildlife markets.

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, Alan Dove, Rich Condit, and Brianne Barker

Guest: Robert Garry

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Links for this episode

Weekly Picks 48:43, 1:36:35

Dickson 143 Optical Illusions and Visual Phenomena
Brianne The Arcane Research that Prepared Us for COVID-19
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VincentDivisive COVID ‘lab leak’ debate prompts dire warnings from researchers

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JonModerna Science Day

Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees

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9 comments on “TWiV 762: SARS-CoV-2 origins with Robert Garry

    • Oooops. Shouldn’t have paused the podcast while I posted. This is Vincent’s pick this week.

  1. Arun Mukherjee May 31, 2021

    Very interesting and informative discussion. I wonder if I could have more information on influenza in China being related to its agricultural practices. It was a comment made by some one in the video.

  2. Tatiana May 31, 2021

    Wow, Dickson’s mic noises (I think it’s from him) are particularly loud and distracting this time. Please keep him muted when he’s not speaking! Thanks.

    Excellent episode, otherwise. I’m so glad you are putting these crazy conspiracy theories to rest. In every single outbreak of every disease in history, people have wanted very much to blame someone, anyone, whoever they don’t like for whatever reason. Rumors flew about how the Germans started the 1918 flu pandemic (which actually, we now think, started in the US.) We should be extremely skeptical of that kind of theory for that reason alone. And because nature has enormous capacity for things like this to happen. What’s surprising is that they don’t happen more often.

    • Timothy Gilbride Oct 19, 2021

      I think someone was writing on their desktop and the sound/vibration was being transferred to the microphone mount.

  3. Richard Cornell Jun 1, 2021

    You mention how the US has problems with its food chain.
    I work for a large food company where it test all its food sources from its vendors. It tested the packing material that it met the company standards. Everywhere along that food chain was a concern. From on how the food was grow to the time it sits on a store food shelves. Anything can be a problem.
    No only the company that I worked for but all the food companies share their problems with each other so that they catch a problem before the FDA finds it.

    When I heard that this virus might have come from bats I wonder if it had anything to do with that virus from Transylvania. If you want conspiracies.
    Do I hear a movie here somewhere?

  4. Richard Cornell Jun 1, 2021

    US Army accounts.
    The flu of 1917 was trace back to a cook (mess Sargent) at a military base. He could got it from the dust that was blowing from the burning animal poop West of the camp. He spread it to those who prepared food for the troops.
    That was the war where more soldiers died directly from the war itself and not to the diseases that usually kill off those that were fighting.

  5. Lindsay Beyerstein Jun 5, 2021

    Great discussion. Why did the Chinese government zero in on the *frozen food* angle, out of all the agricultural products that come into China? Is it because COVID was already known to spread well from person to person in cold, dry environments like meatpacking plants? Is it plausible that COVID could have spread from person-to-person through the cold chain, as opposed to fomites on frozen food, or frozen animal-based foods themselves?