Andrea writes:

I really enjoyed your recent TWiV episode, “If a bat pees in a forest, does anyone care?”

Thought you might enjoy this article on Rich’s University of Florida’s bat program and their recent efforts to move them to their new home. 

Thank you and the whole team for all that you do. You are the best science podcast out there and I look forward to listening every week.

The Ultimate Campus Move-in Problem: Rehoming UF’s Iconic Bat Colony


Ben writes:

This is Ben from Louisiana. Why is a nasal vaccine not more widely available for covid. Would a nasal vaccine not be more effective at helping prevent the spread of Omicron with the increased IgA antibodies versus a standard muscular injection? The infection prevention protection of Pfizer and Moderna are only about 3 months. How do we limit the spread if these vaccines only provide enough antibodies for 3 months? Would a nasal vaccine omicron booster not increase infection protection from three months to 6-12 months because of the more IgA antibodies in the nasopharynx?

Why not skip the trials on these because we know they are safe and effective so we can control the spread of the viruses more and they are already FDA we just need to make them nasal vaccines to get a better IgA response. 

Philip writes:

Does one given the OPV shed after all 4 doses or is there enough gut immunity after the first or second dose to kill the virus before it leaves the gut?

If the first dose was IPV would that eliminate the small risk of the OPV causing polio right off the bat?  Could an oral antiviral given X days after the OPV eliminate the shedding?

Both the OPV and IPV are great as polio is rare.  Both offer protection but not eradication.  It is sad that we are still talking about polio in 2022.

Anyone interested in virology should visit Warm Springs.  Now that would be a great listener pick for ending TWIV.

It is fortunate that we still have experts like you around that understand polio. Dr.  Rosenfeld is there to carry the torch as your career winds down.

Blog design writes:

Dear Twiv:

Have you heard about Dr. Fauci planning to step down from the NIH

Yes I get it he has been in the spotlight for the past two years because of politicians spreading anti-vax conspiracy theories in relation to COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time I go back at some of the TWIV archives back when only Medical researchers heard of him in relation to how medical research funding operates in the USA. 

Tom writes:

In case you missed it, here is an interesting comment on whether “data” is plural or singular in the English language:

From a devoted TWIV fan who discovered you during the pandemic, please keep up the good work.  My motto to my friends is “Show me the data”.


Alpharetta, Georgia

Simon writes:

At the moment there’s a lot of discussion as to the limitations of vaccines giving immunity but not in the site of initial infection. This is true for both covid vaccinations and polio ipv vaccinations

But here’s the thing, in both cases the vaccination protects you from disease but not abortive so-called breakthrough infections. However when such infections occur this should then result in immunity in the place of infection aka in the nose for covid and the gut for polio. Then next time you have a better localized response.

As I recall a recent study actually showed this for omicron covid infections.

Simon writes:

Something interesting… so I was born 1964 and I had smallpox vaccination 1965 on my first birthday. Didn’t scar – the only scar I have is I believe from my BCG (btw this was uk)

Yesterday I had the monkeypox vaccination at about noon. They tried to give it the new way on my lower arm but messed up. As you know this method is tricky so they have people watching checking as they train people up. As a result they then gave me a second shot the normal way on my upper arm.

Now I have a small sore spot on my upper arm but I also have a much larger sore area and swelling on my lower arm where they messed up originally. I think they came up by that evening and they are still there on my second evening.

Didn’t have any other symptoms that day but noon today so 24hr after the shots I had bad nausea for about an hour or so along with heavy sweating which continued a bit longer. The nausea was bad enough I sat by the toilet for quite some time because I recognized I was right on the edge of throwing up.

Sadly here in Santa Clara county they aren’t letting anyone schedule second shots.

As far as I remember I’ve never had a vaccine response this strong.

I think it’s a shame they aren’t doing antibody tests before and after and checking history for smallpox vaccination as it would be interesting to see any correlation between people that did or didn’t have smallpox vax – however I know about the work by AR which suggests anyway such an antibody test would be inconclusive.

Anyway, I thought my experience might be interesting and I wondered if the strong reaction I had might relate to my having had a childhood smallpox vaccination.

Adam writes:

Dear Vincent and colleagues,

What a great episode with Michael Merchlinsky! As a poxvirologist, I have been listening with great interest to your coverage of monkeypox. This recent episode really brought everything together nicely!

I am writing to bring your attention to a small-scale study I was involved with about 10 years ago when I was a post-doc with Laurence Eisenlohr. This short report in the Journal of Virology hits on a lot of current arcs on TWiV, including route of immunization with vaccinia, protection against a pathogenic orthopoxvirus in its natural host, and the importance of both T-cells and antibodies. In this study, protection against mousepox challenge correlated better with higher quality CD8 T-cell responses than antibody levels! I worked on this study as I was finishing up my post-doc, so I didn’t have time to go into detail on some aspects of the story – hence why it’s a short report. Regardless, you may find this paper interesting.

Thank you for everything that you do for science advocacy!




Adam Hersperger, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Chair of the Faculty
Albright College
Reading, PA

John writes:

Hello, I am 72 year old man, vaccinated with two doses of the Salk vaccine when it first became available, then vaccinated with the Sabin vaccine when it first became available.

These vaccinations were more than 60 years ago. What does the data say about whether I likely still am protected from the disease?

Many thanks for considering my question, and many thanks for such an informative podcast.


Chapel Hill NC.

Bonnie writes:

Dear Dr. Racaniello, Dr. Griffin, and everyone else at TWIV,

I am a huge fan of TWIV and all that you and all the guests and contributors do for science education and science communication. Thank you for all that you do. 

I am writing to you to ask you to say a few words to listeners about the value of a university education and how invaluable the work that universities do is to the scientific community and by extension, to humanity. 

I think this is an important topic to address because in the context of the student loan debate, all I have heard is commentary that focuses on how much student loan forgiveness means to individuals. But no one seems to be recognizing that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts of a university education. First, we all benefit when more people are more educated, whether they finish their degree or not. Education supports us all in learning logic, context, and ethics–no matter what field we choose to study. 

But additionally, and I know you can speak to this, universities do research that benefits humanity immeasurably. I’m not using the word “immeasurably” just as a superlative, like “yay, universities are great,” but literally, as in, we literally can’t quantify the benefits that universities provide. Even if we only think about the sciences, we know that not only are universities doing critical medical research, but they are also researching topics such as–for example–agriculture, climate change, and coming up with solutions to agricultural problems that are being caused by climate change. Universities study everything from tiny viruses and even the structure of the atom to the vastness of the universe itself–would we be seeing images from the Webb telescope without universities? I don’t think so.

Moreover, scientific research also depends on the humanities, which support the sciences by providing training related to logic, communication, ethics, and society itself: To understand the larger significance of scientific research to human society in general, not to mention to do the work of finding funding for such research, it’s necessary to understand history, politics, and culture. The pandemic, in particular, has brought science and the humanities together in forming public policy, which is not just based on virology but on an understanding of how humans in our society behave and on what policymakers think is economically sustainable.

When government supports education in any way, it supports science. That’s what I’m trying to say. There is a bigger picture to education: Education of anyone benefits everyone, not just the individual learner, and, education isn’t the only or even the primary role of universities in our society–the generation of new knowledge is even more important than educating students (although educating students is what makes it possible to continue generating knowledge in the long term). Just as vaccination protects others, not just the person being vaccinated, education supports and protects our society, not just the person being educated. I really believe that’s true. What say all of you? 🙂 

Bonnie in Milwaukee (Full disclosure: I have a graduate degree in political science and am working on a second one in divinity. I guess I’m a little invested in the university system. Or I’m just a crackpot. They’re not mutually exclusive!).

Gary writes:

Hello TWIVers,

Dickson, in your big band choices I can’t believe you didn’t include Stan Kenton.  In my opinion, he was the greatest of the later era (50’s,60’s) both in his wonderfully inventive arrangements and his top-to-bottom superb musicians.  For a sample, check out what he and the band do with the music of   However, as you didn’t choose Stan Kenton, I will nominate him as a listener pick. 

Speaking of superb, I found TWIV early in the pandemic and have never missed an episode since.  While there is a lot in the detail of many of your discussions of papers that I don’t have background to understand, I generally follow the thrust of the presentation and discussion, and I find it consistently fascinating.  I appreciate the candid but respectful tone almost as much as the content. 

Thanks for all you do,


Denver CO


Miguel writes:


In response to some of the comments from episode 929, regarding prevention of outbreaks and efforts being taken. I thought you all might be interested in this project that Microsoft and my organization have been working on in collaboration with others. This could be a listener pick if you would like.