Brenda writes:

Hello Dr. Racaniello and team.

Have been listening to your shows for years now, always appreciated. (Parasitism is my favourite, such bizarre worlds within worlds.)

My resistance to getting vaccinated started this past year, mid-January, when a sloppy booster shot with too-long a needle caused immediate and ongoing problems. 

I’m 71 and in great shape, am 25+ years into teaching karate and, for the last few years, have been doing 20-30 hours/week of carpentry work. I’m as stoic as they come.

The mid-January 2022 shot gave me a 24-hour headache to die for, i.e. I don’t ever want to go through that again. Every cell in my head hurt: the roots of my eyelashes and every other hair, every tooth like it was being pulled; my earlobes were screaming.

For several months, my neck, shoulder, and arm were in enough pain to disrupt sleep, nor could I get my physician (I had one then; she’s quit, so like ~1/3 of people in my province, that luxury is gone) to see me in a timely manner. Not until July were the ultrasound, X-ray, and physio’ lined up. The physio’ has helped, plus working on range-of-motion and letting time work its magic.

The pain is gone now, but the neuropathy continues, tingling down my arm to fingertips, plus the arm and hand go numb when I get into a deep sleep, which strangely ache as I waken. This can cause permanent damage, but I’m hopeful it will slowly abate.

So … will I get another shot, of any kind, ever? Nah. Don’t think so. The odds may be one-in-high-odds that the next needle does physical harm, but (a) I don’t want to have to watch the ‘expert’ vaccinating like a hawk, while telling them how to do their job, and (b) risking, in the least, having anyone hurt me again in that way.

While the mechanics of vaccinating isn’t exactly your bailiwick, perhaps you could do a bit on how it should be done to avoid injuries and what the literature says about the incidence and consequences of mindless jabbing.

Cheers for your fascinating work,


Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

Larken writes:

JFK Plane wastewater testing

Relevant quote: ” To supplement swabs from travelers, this summer Concentric began taking about 1 liter of wastewater from each long-haul international flight landing at JFK for testing as well. Wastewater surveillance has become a valuable tool in helping cities in the U.S. keep track of COVID-19 cases, as well as variants, and could also be a critical part of monitoring incoming pathogens on flights.”

Time article quote is from (via archive): 

Rich writes:

I know the TWIV team is interested in education so I’m passing this along. A friend who  lives near me shared this note. Later the story broke in a variety of publications.  

“One of my biotech students is famous! He is the first person to sequence the freshwater Angelfish genome, using tissue from his pet fish when it naturally expired. “

Here is a link to the paper on his research. He was able to do this using the resources of BioCurious, a community research lab. There he used an Oxford Nanopore to generate a long read sequence of the fish genome. Many other resources are available there. This is what can enable the next generation of researchers to do work even when in high school. 

Link to his paper

Link to BioCurious

BioCurious • Community Biotech Lab

Cheers, Rich, a regular TWIV listener

Kevin writes:


 On TWIV 954 there was an email with a link to a paper entitled “Serious adverse events of special interest following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination in randomized trials in adults”. Dr. Susan Oliver and Dr. David Gorski did a really good job debunking that paper. I have included the links to both.  Peter Doshi vs. COVID-19 vaccines, the latest round

Antivaxxers fooled by P-Hacking and apples to oranges comparisons.

Laura writes:

Hi TWIV Team,

I have been listening to your show for about a year now. It is so helpful to be able to listen to experts who are earnestly seeking answers to the important questions. I’m a chemist at the Pennsylvania Department of Health and a virology layperson, but I’ve had the privilege of helping out the virology team during covid surges by prepping PCR samples. I also run a folk dance series in Delaware, which is a high-risk activity for covid transmission, and we’re doing our best to prevent transmission, especially because our ages run from 8-90 and our community is extremely cautious.

I’m curious if people can monitor for asymptomatic infection in the following way. If a person chooses not to get any further vaccinations, is it possible for them to pay for antibody testing on some regular basis and look for increases? Does that confirm if they have had a covid exposure? If they have had an asymptomatic covid exposure, what does this imply about their need for worry on exposure to future covid, barring significantly more lethal or infectious variants?

Thank you so much!  I’m referencing you a lot in my conversations with other covid-curious folks. 



Lisa writes:

Thanks for your wonderful podcast!

The recent discussions of monoclonal antibody drugs losing effectiveness for COVID got me wondering whether there are polyclonal antibody drugs for viruses. Is that approach used or is there a reason monoclonal is better than polyclonal? It seems intuitively like it would be harder for a virus to beat a polyclonal drug than a monoclonal one.


Austin, Texas

(where it’s 55 degrees and a little windy this afternoon)

Philip writes:

Dear Twiv,

You have been my link to scientific information since the beginning of the Pandemic.

Thank you so much for making your expertise available to a worldwide audience. 

I watched with great interest TWIV 950 with Richard Knight regarding Prion Diseases.

Just a note that restrictions in Japan, which used to preclude a person who had only spent one day in the UK between 1980 and 1996 from giving blood, have been relaxed.  It is now one month or more for the UK. Restrictions for other countries and times are also still enforced. 

An interesting response in Japan to the BSE outbreak was that a comprehensive tracking and tracing system for all cattle has been implemented, which records the exact lineage, birthplace, date of birth, etc. of every cow, steer, and bull in Japan. At many super markets and restaurants they will list the registration numbers of the animals on display. 

At fancy restaurants, they might even have the registration papers on display to verify the provenance of your steak. (Regional beef is a big deal here.) 

In any case, I thought this was an interesting response to Prion disease.

Thank you again for your work.




Philip O’Neill

Representative Director, 

Parkdale Group Inc.

Kyoto, Japan

Rich writes:

So much we can learn from watching a virus in action. 

Watch a Virus in the Moments Right Before it


Justin writes:

I recently found this excellent review article about RSV. It includes discussions of the virology/immunology of RSV, as well as a great section on the RSV vaccines looming on the horizon. In addition, there is a good discussion about what might plausibly be driving the recent large wave of RSV related hospitalizations.