Sewell writes:

To the TWIV team

It is 59 degrees F with blue skies in Charleston SC this morning.

I have been an avid TWIV listener since hearing TWIV # 598 in April of 2020 with the masked man, Daniel Griffin. You have been an incredible source of information for all things Covid 19 and SARS CoV 2. More over, you have stimulated me to begin to learn about viruses and immunology. In addition, I listen to TWIM and Immune.  I have taken Vincent’s course on virology and started Brianne’s course on immunology.  I am grateful not only for the information but also for awakening my curiosity about science.

As I was listening to TWIV #866, I picked up a small error by Dickson. This discussion was about (Simon) Flexner whom Amy had said he graduated from Medical School that was like a “mail in catalogue medical school” and that there were lots of things he did not know. Dickson commented that he knew a lot about medical education.

The Flexner who “knew about medical education” was not Simon but his brother, Abraham Flexner.

Interestingly Simon Flexner graduated from the Louisville Medical College that was later absorbed by the University of Louisville. The curriculum of that school and others was improved by reforms stimulated by the 1910 “Flexner Report” by Abraham Flexner.

( )

Thanks again for the service that you provide and the stimulation to our curiosity.

I am a retired Nephrologist of Dickson’s vintage.

Sewell I. Kahn, MD, FACP


Healthcare and Science

Communication and Speaker Coaching

Bonnie writes:

Thought the TWIV crew might like to read Paul’s latest opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Thanks for all you do!! Rich knows I’m

a big fan.

Bonnie Offit

Annika writes:

Dear TWiV team,

Long-time listener, second-time writer from Tokyo, Japan (12C, 53F).

I am listening to the most recent episode, 869: Epstein-Barr virus and MS, and Dickson’s joke of “but if you attack the astrocytes, you destroy Houston” (1:17:09) did not get much of a reaction during recording, but I had to pause for a solid guffaw.

Just sending my appreciation for a quality pun.

Keep up the good work!


Miguel writes:

Kia ora koutou Vincent & Team,

A very long time listener, very first time writer.

You have been accompanying my workout sessions since late 2008, when I discovered TWIV. In fact, at that point I learned how to enjoy running again. Running for the sake of running, or listening to music, was so boring that I could merely run a couple of miles. I now run longer, most times going back home walking, exhausted, just because I wanted to continue listening to TWIV (you may imagine how geek I look when I tell my family, friends that I workout listening to a virology podcast).

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you the attached picture. My wife and I moved to New Zealand a couple of years ago, and you may imagine my surprise when I “found out that Alan Dove had opened” a Photography study in Dunedin … scientist, pilot, scientific writer and expert in photography – kudos Alan!

Keep up the excellent work you are doing. It has been fun listening to you for the last 14 years (wow!) and I’m looking forward to the next 20!

Greetings from a Virologist @ University of Otago, 9,265 miles away, where the current temperature is 51F / 11C … just another late summer day in the south of the South Island.

Ngā mihi nui,



Miguel E. Quiñones-Mateu, Ph.D.

Professor, Webster Family Chair in Viral Pathogenesis

Associate Dean Research

Department of Microbiology & Immunology

School of Biomedical Sciences

University of Otago

Andrew writes:

Hello Vincent et al.!

Catching up on episodes in southern Idaho where it’s a balmy 27F and sunny. Beautiful weather for flying.

I heard the listener question in epitope 855 on whether or not a vaccine could “turn on cellular protein production“ and reactivate cancer. It highlights the important biological fact that our cells are ALWAYS making a metric truckload (defined as 2.2 imperial truckloads) of proteins, and if they stop, we’re in big trouble.

XKCD is fantastic and absolutely worth following. Randall Munroe has written several books, all of which are worth getting. In his book What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, he addresses a hypothetical question of what would happen if all of your DNA instantly disappeared. He uses both radiation poisoning and deathcap mushroom poisoning as an analog, as both of these impact your cells’ ability to synthesize proteins. In short, you have a brief phase of “walking death“, where you function normally as your cells start to degrade. This is followed by dying horribly.

I strongly recommend picking up all of Randall‘s books for entertaining scientific reading material. I thought this one was worth highlighting, as it pertains to this concept of cellular proteins synthesis and homeostasis. Best of luck to the listener who is trying to convince his friend to preserve her life; I’m still working on both of my parents and I’m hitting similar barriers.

Cheers and stay safe,


P.S. this chapter is only in the print version and isn’t available online. Pretty sure I have all the details right, but my copy of the book is currently being moved to northern Minnesota, where it’s a slightly-less-balmy 19F.