Tareek writes:

Hello TWIV crew,

I am a paramedic in NYC since 2012. As people appear to get back to normal despite high cases, I have been trying to use writing and poetry to process the last 2 and a half years.

I wrote the below poem recently and thought you and the listeners may appreciate it. Thanks for everything you do, you’ve been an acoustic refuge in a torment of screaming misinformation and sorrow.

April of ’20

The city is desolate
Not a soul outside

I arrive at work
My siren never turns off
The calls keep coming

My tour has ended
The city is so quiet
Except the sirens

Stay well,


Bo writes:

Hello TWiV team,

Big fan here. I just wanted to point out that you mentioned protein molecule vibration and called that Brownian motion, which is incorrect. Brownian motion is the random vibration of particles such as pollen and bacteria that are being bombarded by surrounding molecules, water and protein and whatnot. Brownian motion is visible under a light microscope.

I really love that Vincent always corrects people when they confuse amino acid changes with mutations and I totally agree with him. I need to work up the courage and correct my PI when he mentions “mutations on the spike protein”.

I’ve learned so much from you guys and I am grateful for the important work you do.

(I am a research scientist (really a postdoc with 401k) in the field of flu and COVID. Like many flu researchers we now also ride the COVID train. I work at the University of Pittsburgh. Not that this is important but I don’t want to look mysterious or secretive. Y’all totally don’t need to read the part in parentheses if you pick this email.)




Zhai, Bo

DDD: I agree. In fact, Albert Einstein got the Nobel Prize in 1922 for his work on Brownian motion.

Brown was a botanist at the British Museum of Natural history and first described it 

in 1827 while observing microscopic pollen grains.

Za writes:

Hello Vincent and TWiV Hosts and Dr. Griffin,

Thanks for all that you are doing to educate all of us and for keeping us up-to-date and accurately informed-about all things viral and infectious-without the drama otherwise found elsewhere. I listen to you and some of the other Microbe.TV shows ALL the TIME (except when I have the stethoscope in my ears).

On TWiV 913 you wondered about the use of the novel oral poliovirus vaccine. Here is a recent MMWR that describes its use and global nOPV2 genomic surveillance during March-October 2021. Genetic stability of the primary attenuating site was confirmed which is great news-so far.

Genetic Characterization of Novel Oral Polio Vaccine Type 2 Viruses During Initial Use Phase Under Emergency Use Listing — Worldwide, March–October 2021 | MMWR (cdc.gov)

Thanks again for all the science education that Microbe.TV offers. 




Zaharoula (Za) A. Viennas, M.D., FAAP

CSG Division of Urgent Care

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Eastern Virginia Medical School

Justin writes:


As a proud cat parent, I can confirm even though they are below knee height they always find a way to sneeze in your face. 

Martin writes:

Dear Vincent,

Please pass on my happy birthday wishes to Rich, 74 today!

Keep up the great work educating us all out here.

Yours sincerely,


A Patreon supporter of Microbe.tv 

Philip writes:

Dear Vincent, Kathy, and/or Rich,

In the past year or so there have been several mentions of “beta-lactamase” as a reporter gene in episodes of TWIV. For instance Kathy, very briefly, mentions beta-lactamase in this regard in TWIV 913. But more lengthy mentions were in previous episodes by Vincent and perhaps Rich.

But don’t you mean “beta-galactosidase”? This protein, sometimes a fusion product, is often used with XGal to produce a blue color. Whereas beta-lactamase cleaves the lactam ring of penicillin and relatives thereby conferring resistance to those antibiotics. It doesn’t seem like a colorimetric reporter although I see it can be in this reference:



Phillip SanMiguel

David writes:

Alpha Centauri is actually a triple star system

Jessica writes:

The human stomach has a low pH and may destroy various substances. An enteric coating will protect the medicine from the stomach acid and then dissolve in the higher pH small intestine. Thus crushing may expose medicine to destruction by stomach acid. 

The function of the stomach acid, together with pepsin, is to break down proteins into amino acids, but it also protects the gastrointestinal tract against many microbes. 

Thanks for all you do,

Jessica Mercure, RN, MA


As a fellow photographer, I find this development absolutely fascinating:

DALL E 2 https://openai.com/dall-e-2/ 

Douglas writes:

I foolishly sent you a link about Polio in London’s wastewater. This may interest you and your listeners as a potential weekly pick from a reader


All royalty free and downloadable; the ultimate background music as no royalties would ever be due.