TWiV Special: Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 update

March 4, 2020

Infectious disease physician Daniel Griffin and virologist Valeria Cagno join Vincent to provide updates on the situation with SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in New York and Italy.

Host: Vincent Racaniello

Guests: Daniel Griffin and Valeria Cagno

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Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees.

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17 comments on “TWiV Special: Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 update


    Here is an Update on COVID-19 in the papers. Note the research paper is going to be in verification stages as the rest of the USA starts coming forward with COVID-19 cases in their states.

  2. Bob Landers Mar 5, 2020
  3. I’m glad you started off with questions of “how long have you/we been preparing for a new pandemic?” Think of Prof. Bartlett – the “exponential rule” applies to the growth of population and its pressure on the natural world, and that pressure reveals new disease organisms (even ignoring global warming impacts) – so it would seem that diseases (pandemics) will be exponential. Do virologists actually think in terms of exponential changes?
    Others have said that the main goal of civilization in the next 100 years will be moving our cities to dry ground. But, consider the waste face mask problem in China, will the work of the 21st century actually be to deal with waste from our complex medical system as it runs headlong into growing rates of pandemics?

  4. Please always differentiate in your conversations between “face masks” (surgical masks) and N95 masks. There have been many recommendations that N95’s do protect the wearer. here in the US, 3M N95 masks are available (before covid-19) even in Home Depot hardware store for protection against dust. So the technology for good SARS-like protection has been widely (cheaply) disseminated. Could this potentially have impact on epidemics? Given the numbers game, I should think so. This is important given the need to reasonably preserve the global economic output.

  5. Gustavo Mar 6, 2020

    Hello. Can you inform when a new show is on your web???

    • profvrr Mar 6, 2020

      I always post new episodes on and

      Plus you can get an email when new episodes are released. Sign up for this at

  6. Michael Pfaller Mar 6, 2020

    Given all of the other issues causing confusion surrounding this virus, it should be given one name either it is COVID-19 or SARS CoV-2 not both.

    • profvrr Mar 8, 2020

      WHO has called the disease COVID-19 while the virus has been named SARS-CoV-2. I think there should be one name that encompasses both, e.g. the original SARS disease, and SARS-CoV.

  7. Johnye Ballenget Mar 7, 2020

    When will SARS-CoV-2 reach the status of “pandemic”? (Seems pretty global at this point.) Will the designation be of any meaningful significance to countries’ national health organizations like our CDC or to populations?


    • Johnye Ballenger Mar 7, 2020

      Name misspelled

    • profvrr Mar 8, 2020

      What’s in a name? Whether it is a pandemic or not, the virus is still spreading. A pandemic, in my book, is a global epidemic (e.g. epidemics in many countries) so for me this is a pandemic. It doesn’t happen often so when it does, it tends to scare people.

  8. We scientists tend to compartmentalize phenomena – but a continuum between infections which rapidly resolve and persistent infections may not exist in a dense society (say, 10 billion humans on earth). Could a long “tail” (shedding virus for months after symptoms resolve) and the ability to reinfect combine to make a virus persistent in a population? Isn’t this somewhat similar to polio not being eradicable using the oral vaccine?

    • profvrr Mar 8, 2020

      There are certainly acute and persistent infections which have clear and different properties. Polio is an acute infection in an individual host. Abrupt onset of disease, followed by resolution. In some individuals virus can replicate in the intestines for several months but eventually it is cleared, so I would not call that a persistent infection. However in populations circulation in multiple overlapping hosts so the infection is continuous. As always we give names to phenomena about which the virus care not.

  9. Chris Mar 8, 2020

    What is making a bit more crazy here in Seattle is that it is the beginning of tree pollen season, even the cherry trees are starting to bloom. I am particularly affected by alder pollen, so I feel it now as my symptoms now include a runny nose and sinus headache from congestion, but I also wake up with scratches on my body from the night time itchies (I call it my self inflicted spring time mutilation).

    Fortunately both hubby and I are retired, so we really don’t have to go anywhere. And sometimes we can’t because events we were planning to go have been canceled. And for once, our “Seattle Freeze” is a good thing: