TWiV 796: The vary hungry spike with Paul and Theodora

August 22, 2021

Paul and Theodora return to TWiV to explain their research on determining the number of neutralizing epitopes on the SARS-CoV-2 spike that are recognized by antibodies, and engineering of a polymutant spike with twenty amino acid changes that demonstrates the high genetic barrier to escape from convalescent serum.

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

Guests: Paul Bieniasz and Theodora Hatiziiouannou

Click arrow to play
Download TWiV 796 (68 MB .mp3, 114 min)
Subscribe (free): iTunesGoogle PodcastsRSSemail

Become a patron of TWiV!

Links for this episode

Weekly Picks 1:37:12

DicksonNIF and Photon Science: fusion reaction generates 1.3 MJ
BrianneThe PCR Song
Rich – 1) How Boston Dynamics’ Spot Robot Works! 2) Inside the lab: How does Atlas work? 3) Atlas | Partners in Parkour
Theodora – Kevin Parry turning into random objects
VincentLex Fridman

Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees

Send your virology questions and comments to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 comments on “TWiV 796: The vary hungry spike with Paul and Theodora

  1. The discussion about strength (if that’s the right word) of immunity from infection followed by one injection of mRNA vaccine make me wonder if we would benefit from a dose of NovaVax and a dose of mRNA. Or if looking for a booster after two mRNA it might be good to get NovaVax.

  2. sreaderk Aug 22, 2021

    Please post the link to the conversation you had with Lex Fridman discussion. Could not find it among those listed at the site (may be too soon?)

  3. Your listener’s who play wind instruments might enjoy this Science News article on the science of keeping wind instruments from spreading the coronavirus.

  4. Jenny Aug 29, 2021

    Dear TWiV Team,

    I was wondering if you could make an educated guess about how long it might take for Covid to burn through a community.

    Locally, we have a 50% vaccination rate and at least 16% of the population has a documented Covid infection. However the testing percent positive rate has been north of TWENTY PERCENT for at least four months of the pandemic. We have surely missed many more cases than we documented. I know there is overlap between vaccinated and previously infected cases–I am one–but can you guess how many more waves we will have to endure with these kinds of numbers.

    You mentioned these waves going on for years, and I just don’t see how it could take that long considering our current state. Thanks!

  5. This work encourages speculation about what might be a functional “complete immunization” (rapid/wide evolution of host antibodies) which might be obtained by the reverse of their study group – vaccination *then* infection by sars-CoV2?
    Reminiscent of variolation.
    If useful, it has the benefit of preventing deaths from variolation.