Bob writes:


1. CarTalk still comes out with re-runs twice per week as a podcast from NPR. These are shortened versions, and go way back. This is the only podcast I put in my playlist above TWIV! I don’t cry much, but I shed a few tears when they announced that Tommy had passed. 

2. I also listen to the Mindscape podcast by, wait for it, Sean M. Carroll who once had Sean B. Carroll on his show. It covers more than just physics if you are wondering.

Thanks for such an informative podcast, since I am not a virologist, doctor, chemist etc., it is safe to say I always learn something.


Wilmington, NC (currently 61F this morning)

Frank writes:

The coming attack on science – Virology Research

Best Regards,


Arlo writes:


My name is Arlo. I have found my love for viruses when I was in 6th grade about five years ago, since then I studied as much as I could but this year I reached a cap on what I could study. I have three years until university so I wanted to ask, do you have any recommendations on books or programs for a high schooler to do?

Thanks! For reading this


From Steve Cresawn:  Hi Rich! Yes, is a great place to send him. If he’s interested in phage therapy, The Perfect Predator by Stephanie Strathdee tells her and her husband’s personal story on the topic. For phage genomes, you could refer him to or even These would give him computational things to think about and do, so wouldn’t require a lab, etc. 

Steven Cresawn, Ph.D., James Madison University

TWiV 502 Texas Road Phage 

Justin writes:

Hi Vincent and the rest of the TWiV gang,

I first wanted to start out by thanking all of you for producing such wonderful podcasts and sharing your insight with the world.  The MicrobeTV podcasts are some of the few I get truly excited for when they pop up in my feed.  I am a non-traditional undergrad student working towards a degree in Wildlife Biology after taking a few years away from school, and though I don’t always understand all the technical virology/medical terms, I am always fascinated to learn from these shows.  I am particularly fond of the episodes tying in ecology and wildlife science into the field of virology. 

With the circumstances of COVID-19 and learning more about zoonotic diseases in general from your podcast and books like Quammen’s Spillover, I am starting to consider doing my graduate degree somewhere in the interface of health and wildlife/ecology.  I’m still not entirely sure what direction I want to go, but are there any general subjects that you might recommend taking a course or two in that could prepare a wildlife focused biology major for grad school in a more health focused field?

Additionally, I know this is asking a lot, but do you have any particular recommendations for agencies/labs/etc to look into for internships/jobs for someone with my background?

I truly appreciate your time and expertise, and wish you all the best and good health,


Craig writes:

A rabies infection moves toward the brain slowly enough before causing disease and death that a vaccine administered after exposure has time to work. But then why do you need the vaccine?

Generally a vaccine is administered to give your adaptive immune system time to develop a response before seeing the actual pathogen — to do the slow work of learning in advance, so it can respond fast enough when the real pathogen appears. If the pathogen is this slow, why doesn’t the immune system just handle it without a vaccine? Does the rabies virus have countermeasures which hinder the immune system from developing an adaptive response, such that the vaccine is more effective at eliciting protection?



Vr: “Importantly, a number of studies in recent years have indicated that RABV specifically suppresses host immunity through diverse mechanisms and that this is a key process in pathogenicity.” from 

Philip writes:

We went from Wuhan to Alpha then Beta, Gamma and Delta within a year and a half.  For the last 10 months it has been Omicron in its various forms.

Does this mean we are seeing smaller incremental changes without major changes that would move us to the next letter in the Greek alphabet?

How would a virologist explain this?  

Brian writes:

Dear Twivers

I listened with great interest to your interview with Dr Offit. Excellent as usual! 

That said I found it baffling the comments about Canada relaxing its vaccination requirements for entry. I’ve heard this on a number of podcasts about how bizarre it is that Canada has covid vaccination requirements for entry. This was apparently particularly offensive for sports fans because their favorite steroid abuser wasn’t able to enter without getting a vaccination.

I have attached which seems to show the US has exactly the same requirements.

Keep up the good work


Kim writes:

Above: SARs photographed by the Dynamics Explorer-1 satellite in 1982. More SARs are among the reddest things in the sky, with a monochromatic glow at 6300 À that comes from atomic oxygen in the upper atmosphere. The human eye is relatively insensitive to light at this wavelength, but cameras can record the color easily. Pro tip for photographers: Use a 6300 À


Your old friend,

Kim Without Borders 

Dentist to the World 

(Most recently in Samoa and Tonga, 2 days later far northwest Alaska to pay for my volunteer work where the remnants of a typhoon battered the shores and 2 days after that Austria where I was on a bike trip, cut short when I was hit by a car while on my bike, torquing my knee; an eventful couple of months. I was happy to listen to your podcasts while nursing my bruised knee etc, thank you!)

I’ll attach a video report of the weather for you

Untitled › janet › SAR_over…

Stable auroral red (SAR) arc emission observed over North America from space by the Dynamics Explorer 1 satellite. This image was filtered at 6300

Susan writes:

That was a funny dry joke about Emma Thompson. I was falling asleep and got all confused 🤣


Frank writes:

Nate Hagens tells a great story of how we have become an autonomous superorganism.

Best Regards,


Debby writes:

Hello from a loyal listener. Thanks for keeping on with your commitment to science education–I’m enjoying learning! 

I thought you might enjoy this podcast from our national radio program, the CBC. For those more inclined to read than to listen, the webpage has lots of information and photos. 

Most of the podcast is in the voice of a woman who describes her experience of having polio twice in childhood, her career as a psychiatric nurse, and her experience of post-polio syndrome later in life.