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TWiV 159 Letters

Jenny writes:

Hi Vince and the rest of the TWIV-cast!

You might have come across this news already, but it would be interesting to hear the TWIV gang's take on this study done by Fouchier's group from the Netherlands.

Thanks and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Jeremy Luban writes:

Hey Vincent,

Thought you might want to know about Uta von Schwedler (?TWiV). She was a posdoc with Didier Trono in San Diego, then with Wes Sundquist in Salt Lake. The she worked with ex-Columbian Ila Singh. She has some very important papers in our field, that you might call "classics". I refer to them again and again. Papers defining the Vif phenotype and HIV-1 CA structure/function/ESCRT.

I knew Uta well from Cold Spring Harbor. She attended frequently. She once took my daughter Maria swimming at CSH. Showed the picture to my Maria, who remembered her. Maria pointed out something ridiculous that I am embarrassed to say I never noticed: UTA lived in UTAh!!!!


Wes Sundquist writes:

Jeremy – thank you very much for compiling that information and her papers and passing it along. It was a very thoughtful thing to do. As you say, Uta had a major impact on our field, and touched many people in addition to her scientific contributions.

Vince – if you are interested in any additional information on Uta please let us know. A facebook page has been set up in her honor and it contains a lot of information and memories, from virologist and also from her many friends outside of science. The URL is: This past summer one of Uta’s papers was selected as one of the thirty most influential papers in the thirty years of HIV research. I was asked to write a commentary on it, which is now out and now includes a dedication to Uta ( – 2003 paper). The selection occurred this past summer, and I’m pleased that Uta knew about the selection and saw the commentary before she passed away.

I’m also cc’ing this message to Almut and Nils because I’ve been telling Uta’s family how many virologists have contacted me to express their shock, condolences and memories of Uta, and I thought they might want to see a particularly good example of this. Feel free to pass this along to other family members that you think would be interested.

You’re right Jeremy – UTA did live in UTAh. She would also sometimes take the light rail or bus systems, which are run here by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA – see It used to amuse us that over the years we’d sometimes see her sitting at a bus stop bench labeled “UTA” or see billboards that said things like “Go UTA”!



Matt Evans writes:

What do you think of this:


anonymous writes:

I writing to tell you how thankful I am, for the work you are doing with your brilliant podcasts.

I'm a bachelor in biochemistry, soon to start in the molecular micro biology masters program. I would like to share with you the last 4 years of my life. In late august 2007 I was travelling in S.E. Asia during my summer vacation from university. I had an amazing time in places like Indonesia (Sumatra) and Malaysia (Penang). Unfortunately i caught a tropical virus along the road, namely Chikungunya. I´m sure you are familiar with this virus.

In rare cases the virus gives you chronically joint pains. I´m one of these rare cases. Over the years, I have consulted numerous different doctors. Recently I consulted an anesthesiologist who provided me with just the right painkiller. (From what I´m told, treatment is basically a "hit-or-miss" approach) My life was changed again. Now I'm able to use my body to all the things I love. First thing I did, was to walk. Just walk. Over the past 4 weeks I have walked more than 200 miles. It´s hard to describe how joyful I am, just being able to walk without feeling intense pain.

For every minute I walked, I was listening to your podcasts. They really helped me getting my fascination for microbiology back. In four years, you forget a lot. Your passion, your drive. It takes a serious blow. You have helped me find this long lost companion. And for this, I am very grateful! So I´m sending you my deepest thanks!

I hope you will keep up the good work! For my part, I´m looking forward to the next many miles in your company.

PS. Did you ever do a part about Chikungunya?

Danielle writes:


I am Danielle from the University of California Santa Cruz (an undergrad majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology/ Bioinformatics) and I was going through your archives and listened to an episode where it was mentioned that an app of some sort of your podcast/blog would be useful. I just wanted to let you guys know that I actually found out about you guys by looking for a microbiology type app and found one that featured content from your blog as well as a few others. Unfortunately a review of this app said it was completely useless/broken and it costs $4.99 (so you guys should totally make you own someday). However, I love to listen to podcasts as I do lab work, so I subscribed to your podcast with my google reader and now I can listen to your podcast on my android phone with ear buds while I'm running around doing whatever. This also works with the iPad and I would imagine it would work with an android tablet and iPhone as well! So until you convince some computer science grad or undergrad to make an app for you guys you could suggest followers subscribe with google reader as a substitute app.

On another note, I want to thank you guys for doing this podcast! As an undergrad I'm not really sure what I want to do post-graduation and I've always been interested in virology. My college has Phil Berman (he worked on one of the HIV vaccines) teaching vaccine related classes we don't really have a virology department and I wasn't that sure what a virology lab would really do or look like. However, because of your podcast I'm pretty sold on doing something virus related in the future.



Chris C responds:

The app does work fine on all iDevices and Android phones as I have it installed on the Samsung Galaxy S, iPod Touch, iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, iPad and iPad 2, the only catch is that you have to be connected to 3G or the internet for it to stream or download the latest episodes. Once episodes are downloaded it can be used offline to play the episodes.

I suspect this user downloaded the app and then tried to use it when he/she wasn’t connected to the internet. I have tried to respond to this person using the comment review fields in the iTunes store but my responses have never been published, I believe because I am the content creator.

Unfortunately, no third party has written a new review in iTunes since April to counter the latest comment.

We have sold over 2,000 MicrobeWorld apps so far and this has been the only negative review to date. We did have one bug uncovered when we launched the Android version in December but we responded quickly with a fix and the reviewer updated his comment for us in the Android Market Place.

If you do decide on purchasing the iPhone/iPad version, please let me know how your experience is and I encourage you to write a review.

Simon writes:

Hi Prof Racaniello

I'm delighted to hear that someone of your calibre has jointed the CFIDS Scientific Advisory Board; CFS research needs more high-grade input. I'm also glad you met some patients and discovered that most of us are reasonable people trying to cope with a very difficult disease (and usually our illnesses kicked off after an infectious episode).

I've enjoyed your podcasts on XMRV and am sorry about the amount of flak that appeared on your site. A tiny but vocal and vitriolic minority of patients give the rest of us a bad name. Yes, we try to argue with them on forums but you can only be torched so many times before you realise it's not only deeply unpleasant but also pointless.

Anyway, thank you for your commitment to trying to solve CFS - it is appreciated



Trudy writes:

[first part read on TWiP]

Now about TWIV…can you cover Herpes B? Actually knew a patient who sustained a bite from an infected monkey quite a few years ago. The patient was a Vet and was treated with a series of IV Acyclovir infusions. She was still living as of a couple years ago when the doc who treated her lost track of her, but it was probable that she is still OK. The treatment was experimental then.

Also got a huge kick out of your comments about DA Henderson’s remark about polio vaccine. I had the pleasure of meeting him a when he came to the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida to speak about WMDs. We spoke about vaccine preventable diseases and the growing disconnect with those who are anti vac “whackaloons”….Since I was involved with outbreaks of assorted diseases, including measles, we had quite a discussion. So many docs today have no idea of what the rash illnesses look like, and there is pressure for the newest grads to adopt CAM. It is of great concern. My mother in law had polio when she was a young mother. She suffers from post polio syndrome now.

I absolutely love your podcasts. Thank you for all your hard work…Between your podcasts and ID doc, Mark Crislip's (Quackcast, Puscast and Persiflager’s Compendium of Infectious Diseases) I am in “hog heaven”…tapeworm free. Holy cow! I eat breathe and dream about tiny animalcules….

No need to respond to this long winded tome…just had to write. Miss working in Public Health.


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