Karen writes:

Referencing TWIV 776.

Your insurance company will not want to pay an additional administrative fee for a vaccine “top-off” not FDA approved.  Expect a claim denial if your J&J was run through your insurance, and a new bill in the mail from the pharmacy.

You might get away with it at a county or state public health vaccination clinic if you claim no insurance.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) has documented multiple cases of patients getting surprise billed for administrative expenses by clinics and labs who thought they were getting “free” testing.  I actually fit in that category myself so I have first hand experience.  Don’t go to a business and expect something for free despite what the news says.  

Karen from Yuba City, California

Grant writes:


As a Pathologist and TWIV-hear-ian (person who listens to TWIV) I have to deal daily with incorrect information about Covid-19.

There is a plethora of pseudo experts disseminating incorrect information or opinions and I now label this syndrome “MISCOVIDITIS”.

Wearing masks is proven to be fundamental in stopping the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus and Covid-19.

Masks won’t unfortunately stop spread of MISCOVIDITIS but gagging would (if only that could be done).

Keep up the conversation.

Dr Grant McBride
Oz (Australia)

Charles writes:

Hello TWiVers;

Another hot and humid day in Chapel Hill, 85 F, 29 C at 6:00 pm.  Looks like the weather will be about the same in NJ this weekend as in NC.  I hope to get a nice view from Mount Mitchell (NJ, not NC) or the Twin Lights State Historic Site this weekend.

No virus questions this time.  Just wanted to say that the shows over the last month or so have been really good.  They are close to the back to back wonders of 640 and 641.

I would like to share a couple of quotes from religious sources.  The first is derived from a Gautama Buddha quote: “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.”  I really hope that is correct.  We have had way too many people in high places of power hiding the truth and it has and continues to cost us dearly.

The second is from Stan Rushworth: “Instead of thinking that I am born with rights, I choose to think that I was born with obligations to serve past, present, and future generations, and the planet herself.”  The pandemic has turned a very bright spotlight on rights and obligations.  Rights without obligations seem to have won out, leaving all of us in much worse shape.  I hope this can change.

One more quote that really just blew my mind from Ohio State President Kristina Johnson: “We decided together that we’re going to look at this not through a political lens, we’re going to look at it through a public health lens,”.*  What she was looking at was whether to encourage or require vaccinations for students.  Their decision to not require vaccinations shows that she did look at the problem through the political lens, not the public health lens.  Drives me a bit nuts.

One last thing, Dr. Racaniello, I wish your dog a speedy recovery.


* Link:


Genie writes:

Hi, All,

The Delta Variant

It may be outrageous
To call it more contagious
But oh s–t
Is it more fit?

Thanks for your show!


Bonnie writes:

Dear TWIV team,

When listening to Episode 776 and the study on infecting Aedes mosquitos with Wolbachia pippientis was discussed as a method for decreasing Dengue virus transmission,  I was reminded vaguely about a short story by  (?) Ray Bradbury in which a person travels back in time, and causes the destruction of a butterfly which leads to a change in an election result eons later or some such. Let me explain my concerns.

As a fellow in infectious diseases at Washington University, I was fortunate enough to work in Dr.  Gary Weil’s lab studying filariasis. Human filariasis is spread by mosquitoes, (usually of the Culex genus) and causes horrible disfiguring disease, edema, and death. The primary parasites in humans in this group, as TWIP fans may already know, are Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malaya. Interestingly, a major treatment to decrease parasite burden for these terrible diseases is to KILL the Wolbachia endosymbionts, which can greatly reduce disease burden of both the adult and filariform parasites. Doxycycline has been effectively used to decrease Wolbachia and therefore “worm burden”. Treating these parasitic infections with ivermectin or albendazole alone requires years of treatment- up to 15 years or more-which makes eradication a major global challenge. There is even an organization called A-WOL -the AntiWolbachia Consortium-which has been studying antibiotic treatments against Wolbachia to enhance the elimination of filarial parasites from human hosts.

Closer to the home front, one of our rescue dogs required treatment for heartworm, due to the canine filarial parasite Dirofilaria immitis. Part of standard of care now is to include doxycycline to kill the Wolbachia prior the antiparasite meds, in addition to steroids to decrease inflammation. Much of the disease process in canine heartworm infections comes from release of WSP-Wolbachia surface proteins-which leads to inflammation, pulmonary scarring, etc.  I have unpleasant lab memories about extracting these parasites from dogs’ lungs which had succumbed to heartworm for use to extract antigens, etc, for some of our research on animal and human filariasis.

Onchocerca is another filarial parasite, whose vector is the Simulium black fly,  which also has Wolbachia as a necessary endosymbiont. This is the pathogen responsible for River Blindness, a scourge  which the world is having some success in eliminating. The blindness from corneal scarring, etc associated with this horrible infection is prevented in animal models by eradicating the Wolbachia.

Heck, this Wolbachia criteria could even involve your Immune podcast as well as its lipoprotein inhibits host degranulation of eosinphils and impedes the neutrophil response of the host in trying to eliminate the filarial parasite.

While I have treated many patients with the entire spectrum of Dengue disease (and live in Texas where the Aedes mosquitoes are quite at home), I am less than enthusiastic about a treatment which enhances mosquito capabilities as hosts for these other formidable pathogens of both humans and canines. While human filariasis is not an endemic concern in the US, there are too many unknowns, and I would likely be among the local residents saying “Now, wait a minute” if such studies were proposed here.

Thanks for the invigorating podcasts !

Bonnie Rawot, M.D.
Infectious Diseases, Dallas

Monica writes:

Hello TWiV team!

From beautiful Victoria, BC, Canada. It’s currently 20C, sunny and not a cloud in the sky here and I will not have to officially mow my lawn until October again as there is no sign of rain until the fall.

First, I wanted to say thank you for the great show content and have been a subscriber since the beginning of the pandemic in April of 2020. I am a physician assistant in the Canadian military and initially stumbled across your podcast whilst searching for science based information to help me understand what was happening in the world instead of listening to sensationalized news broadcasts. You delivered in spades and I have referenced your show so often when talking to my patients/friends/colleagues/family, I have lost track. Thank you.

I however have to burst Brianne’s bubble. 50ft mosquitoes do exist…..

The Mosquito Capital of Canada (mysteriesofcanada.com) – you can still visit Victoria, we don’t have mosquitoes here J

All the best and I look forward to many more episodes!!


Anonymous writes:


I was listening to your episode of TWiV 776 and thought of what they are doing in Key West with mosquitoes to combat disease.

I have rewritten many emails in my head since April 2020 when I discovered you. I have enjoyed this podcast and also Immune and the evolution of viruses one. I do everything on my smartphone so please excuse the lack of specificity. Also please excuse any odd word errors due to using a speech recognition app. 

I am not a scientist, but you helped save my sanity during the pandemic so many thanks.

In spring of 2020, I encountered the guy who lived next to me in the building in the communal laundry room. He was working on a vaccine for Zika. I checked with him to see if the podcast was good science since I didn’t know enough to be sure.

I have lifted many more bound science journals than I have ever read.

I couldn’t understand everything he said to me across the roar of the machines and physically distancing on opposite ends of the room while wearing masks. He knew about it and said that Vincent Racaniello was the first to do something in particular. I couldn’t hear what it was. 🙂 but that told me I had made a good choice of what to listen to.

The temperature has changed many times since I have been listening.

Gratefully and Anonymously many thanks.

Jamie writes:

Here’s a plan for naming viruses:

Transfer to pathogenic viruses the names of disgraced individuals or families who previously had statues, building, roads, etc. named after them. You could have “CoxSacklerievirus”, after the Sackler name that was recently removed from my alma mater, Tufts.  “Jeffrey-Epstein-Barr virus” (ooh, that actually might take care of two in one).  “Robert-E-Leemphocytic choriomeningitis virus”. “JefferSindbis Davis virus”? And for you, Vince, “Polkiovirus” (after Leonidis Polk).

Shall we contact the ICTV?



Jamie Henzy, PhD
Associate Teaching Professor
Biology Department
Northeastern University

Mark writes:

Dear TWIV Team,

At 08:45h BKK reports 89F/27C, 90% humidity,  Wind 100 at 4KT

Here are some more aviation picks. 

Museum of Flight, Curator on the Loose

Classic Airliners and Vintage Pop Culture

Flying Men, Flying Machines (1960s CIA documentary about Air America in Laos)

For Alan Dove, the Thai Flying Club (when it opens again)