Charles writes:

Hello All;

65F (18C) and damp.  Not a great day, but 65 in mid January is both nice and something to complain about.

Not sure if this is a TWiV, Daniel Griffin or TWiM question.  The subject that brought this to mind was most recently on TWiM 279, but has been on TWiV before, and with amoebas being parasites, how could I not ask Dr. Griffin.  That subject is successful phage therapy.

I remember summer stories about naegleria fowleri amoeba eating people’s brains and there not being much that would help them.  Antibiotics may help early, but nothing seemed to work late.  So thinking way out of the box, I remembered that giant viruses infect amoebas.  So is that like phages infecting bacteria?  If so, could we find or modify (please don’t let Rand Paul know) a giant virus that inactivates naegleria fowleri amoebas?

Is this interesting, or should this computer programmer get back in his lane?


Charles Fischer

PS, Even if you suggest I get back in my lane, history suggests I will not follow your excellent advice.

Flavia writes:

After listening to many, many TWIVs over the past year(s), I, a junior-college graduate only, whose interest was literature, am BEGINNING to grasp virology.  Your podcasts are fascinating and thankfully, necessarily often repeat concepts and accompanying vocabulary, and that repetition seems to have pierced my veil of ignorance re virus matters.  THANK YOU!

I write today because your most recent TWIV included mention of “splash back” toilet flushing problems, even potentially with urinals. I had just come across the linked article and thought I’d pass along for your possible (albeit unlikely) interest. 

P.S.:  I wish TWIM were both audio AND visual.

Ginny writes:

I just had to share, in case you hadn’t seen it, that Fox News wondered if that Chinese balloon, 60K feet in the air, was “filled with virus,” “came from Wuhan,” and “we’d all end up back on ventilators.” I literally laughed out loud. They really don’t get science, do they?

Hope that gave you a laugh, too. 

Thanks for all you do.


Rochester, NY

Hunter writes:
Esteemed TWiV’ers,

Unfettered praise seems to assist in getting an email read during the podcast – all of you are beacons of light on coronavirus – thank you!

Alan said to keep it succinct, so here goes.  This link is to the annual report for Rabies surveillance in North America for 2020: 

This shows over 87,800 animals tested in the US, 11,600 animals tested in Mexico, and 2,600 animals tested in Canada, so a total of about 102,000 animals.  TWiV’ers, as well as many of your guests, have bemoaned the lack of animal surveillance in general and as it might relate to establishing a reservoir of SARS like viruses in North American wildlife.

Thrilled to have Angela as a part of the group, about time veterinarians are in the mix.  Of the 95 people David Quammen with bios in his book, 10% were veterinarians.  All hail the 10%’ers!

My questions for TWiV are:

1)  How long might the corona virus remain viable in these specimens? Generally they are shipped in short order (on ice) for the rabies screening since people would like to know ASAP.

2)  The entire animal would not be available for a sample taken in larger species but in most species you will get an intact head (not with a bovine or equine – check this out for brain removal with compressed air, we use the water hose method:  ).  Does the head provide a suitable area to swab, say nares and sinuses?

3)  Since SARS-CoV2 most likely arose in bats, it seems like more bat surveillance (in addition to testing rabies submitted bats) should be occurring.  Is it going on in the US currently?  The study shows that for the US, over 24,200 bats were submitted in 2020 for rabies testing, so a ready pool might be available to sample.

4)  If the virus is stable for a length of time after the animal expires, how about large animal veterinarians swabbing all the road kill we see everyday?  I will leave the skunks for the COVID 19 patients whose senses of smell and taste have not returned yet. Opens up the potential to recruit hunters, trappers and other outdoor enthusiasts in the testing program.

5)  Are the primers to detect corona viruses readily available?  I am thinking if the animal tested is negative for rabies (would not want a positive rabies animal around any longer than necessary) then the animal/sample could be tested for other viruses with an emphasis on corona viruses.

This is all pie in the sky most likely, since it would require funding and a commitment to long term One Health/pandemic surveillance which seems to be difficult to maintain.

34 degrees F, blizzard conditions   2/9/23

Hunter Lang, DVM

Prairie du Sac, WI 53578

James writes:


Interesting to come across this after listening to you and Dr. Griffin on this subject of peer-review. In light of the “infodemic” during the past few years, this process needs  examination.

A faithful listener


Paul writes:


Great issue on Sunday.  As always, really enjoy spending a little time with you folks!

To the point, I understand the concern with unclear statements, asserting that certain GIOF experiments shouldn’t be conducted when there is a reasonable expectation that risky outcomes might occur. Yes, this type of unclear constraint could greatly hamper needed research.  Such ambiguity is unfortunate.

But, when I consider specific instances, this kind of statement makes more sense. Additionally, this type of statement invariably precedes greater restriction because a few parties will undoubtedly exercise questionable judgement.

To insert or suggest the insertion of FCSes in a sarbecovirus that might increase infections in humans is poor judgement.  To insert or suggest the insertion of an RBD into sarbecoviruses, with high, human ACE2 affinity is in poor judgement.  A reasonable, informed person would not partake in such experimentation.  The risk/reward benefit can not overcome scientific curiosity in these cases.

Virology and other biosciences, currently enjoy a degree of freedom in self regulation that will shift to a more constrained framework, much more restrictive than desired, if the average taxpayer perceives a lack of self awareness to the significant risk in pathogen research, no matter how small the possibility of accidental escape.

As you guys mentioned, it’s not the protocols that are the problem, it’s that human beings make mistakes.

You guys are great,


Kathryn writes:

Hello Twiv gang,

   I was listening along to TWIV 983, when I heard Vincent exclaim that the high price of baguettes was possibly related to the increase in the price of eggs. As someone who has devoted a great deal of my time to eating French pastries and other baked goods, let me assure you that a real French baguette may not contain anything other than flour, salt, water and yeast. There are never any eggs in it. It’s likely that the war in Ukraine, and the subsequent destruction of wheat harvests there was causative. It could also have been linked to the war in Ukraine, and the subsequent spike in natural gas prices, which caused shortages of fertilizer made from natural gas. Likely all of these combined together with the increase in the price of housing for the people who were making those baguettes for you.


   Kathryn, who did her thesis in France and ate very well there.

Jerry writes:

I’d like to shed some light on car/deer collisions based on my experience at the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory at SIU in Carbondale, IL. When I was there in the 1980s one of the masters students did a research project on that topic. Use of night vision scopes to observe road crossing behavior, surveys of drivers involved in deer collisions taken from accident reports (snail mail era) and incidence of collisions on roads where hunting occurred in fall vs. non-hunted areas. Very nice write up and presentation. This is the stuff that goes into the body of knowledge used to manage deer herds and doesn’t get wide publication.

The first item of importance was that over 90% of drivers never saw the deer until it was in front of the car and too late to avoid. Use of warning signs indicating deer collision area ahead had no effect on this. Side note – the signs are up because people demand them, not because they work. 

On behavior, a lot of collisions involve doe/fawn interactions when crossing roads. With oncoming traffic at a distance, the doe will cross but the fawn will hang back. When the car gets much closer and will clearly come between the fawn and the doe, the fawn makes a dash to cross the road. Most times they make it but not always. He spent many long nights with a night scope on local roads watching the process.

In fall, with the onset of rut, there was no difference between the hunted and non-hunted road areas in terms of collisions. They both have an equally proportionate increase in accidents. Hunting restrictions aren’t going to reduce the numbers. This was pre-DNA gender identification so he didn’t have reliable data on male/female ratios. A lot of times, there was just a smear on the road having been run over by semi-tractor trailers and cars multiple times. 


Gerri writes:

Hi, Vincent,

I don’t know if the story itself will really be your thing, but be sure to read “the story behind the story” at the end. 😉 


Drew writes:

I heard some nostalgia expressed for the old Weather Channel feed backed with smooth jazz on the last epitope and thought I’d share this gem I came across recently because I also have a soft spot for the old format:  It will even play lo-fi smooth jazz on a loop!

Thanks for making the show and I hope this delights y’all as much as it does me,

Drew from Minneapolis where we’re about to get another foot of snow 😐