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This Podcast Will Kill You

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This podcast might not actually kill you, but it covers so many things that can. Each episode tackles a different disease, from its history, to its biology, and finally, how scared you need to be. Ecologists and epidemiologists Erin Welsh and Erin Allmann Updyke make infectious diseases acceptable fodder for dinner party conversation and provide the perfect cocktail recipe to match
64 Episodes
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No story of antibiotics would be complete without the rise of resistance. As promised in our last episode, this week we dive into what the WHO calls ‘one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today’ - antibiotic resistance. In the decades since their development, misuse and overuse of antibiotics has led to many becoming all but useless, and our world seems on the verge of plunging into a post-antibiotic era. How does resistance work? Where did it come from? Why did it spread so far so rapidly? Is there any hope? In this episode, we answer all these questions and more. First, we explore the many ways bacteria evade the weaponry of antibiotic compounds. Then we trace the global spread of these resistant bugs by examining the major contributors to their misuse and overuse. And finally we assess the current global status of antibiotic resistant infections (spoiler: it’s very bad) and search for any good news (spoiler: there’s a lot!). To chat about one super cool and innovative alternative to antibiotics, we are joined by the amazing Dr. Steffanie Strathdee (Twitter: @chngin_the_wrld), Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Harold Simon Professor at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Co-Director at the Center for Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics. Dr. Strathdee provides a firsthand account of helping her husband, Dr. Tom Patterson, fight off a deadly superbug infection by calling on a long-forgotten method of treating bacterial infections: phage therapy.   To read more about phage therapy and Dr. Strathdee’s incredible experiences, check out The Perfect Predator: A Scientist's Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug: A Memoir.
Fifty episodes. That’s fifty (sometimes) deadly viruses, bacteria, protozoa, parasites, and poisons. And don’t forget the fifty quarantinis to accompany each! What better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than talking about something that may actually save you: antibiotics. In this, our golden anniversary episode, our ambition tempts us to tackle the massive world of these bacteria-fighting drugs. We explore the various ways that antibiotics duel with their bacterial enemies to deliver us from infection, and we trace their history, from the early years of Fleming and Florey to the drama-laden labs of some soil microbiologists. Finally, we end, as we always do, with discussing where we stand with antibiotics today. Dr. Jonathan Stokes (@ItsJonStokes), postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Jim Collins’ lab at MIT, joins us to talk about some of his lab’s amazing research on using machine learning to discover new antibiotics, which prompts us to repeat “that is SO COOL” and “we are truly living in the future.” We think you’ll agree.   To read more about using machine learning to uncover antibiotic compounds, head to the Collins’ lab website, the Audacious Project site, or check out Dr. Stokes’ paper:  Stokes, Jonathan M., et al. "A deep learning approach to antibiotic discovery." Cell 180.4 (2020): 688-702.
COVID-19 Ch 11: Modeling

COVID-19 Ch 11: Modeling

2020-05-0401:23:206

The eleventh episode of our Anatomy of a Pandemic series has arrived, and just in time. Have you found yourself trying to sift through headlines claiming “this model predicts that” and “that model predicts this”, but you’re not sure where the truth really lies? Then this episode is for you. With the help of Dr. Mike Famulare from the Institute for Disease Modeling (interview recorded April 29, 2020), we walk through the basics of mathematical modeling of infectious disease, explore some of the current projections for this pandemic, and discuss some guidelines for evaluating these headline-making models. As always, we wrap up the episode by discussing the top five things we learned from our expert. To help you get a better idea of the topics covered in this episode, we’ve listed the questions below: What is a math model and what are some of the goals of mathematical modeling? So talking specifically now about infectious disease models, can you walk us through what the basic components are of an infectious disease model, like an SIR model? Where do you get the data that you use to estimate the parameters in an SIR model - what is based on actual data and what has to be estimated? Infectious disease outbreaks often have a curve-like shape, with the number of infected individuals on the y-axis and time on the x-axis. Can you explain why infectious disease epidemics tend to follow a curve? Can you talk us through some of the assumptions that you have to make when you're constructing one of these models and how that kind of relates to the uncertainty inherent within models? How might that uncertainty affect interpretation? What are some examples of the various ways we use infectious disease models in public health policy? Can you talk about how models might be used at various stages of a pandemic to guide public health measures? How might our use of models early on in a pandemic be different from the middle of one? Speaking specifically about COVID-19 now, can you talk about what a basic model for this pandemic might look like?  Are models for COVID-19 using only lab-confirmed cases of the disease or clinical-confirmed cases as well? Looking back on these earlier models of COVID-19, what can we take away from the performance of these models? Is there any agreement among models as to what policies might be the best in terms of keeping cases and deaths as low as possible?  For those of us who have no background in mathematical or statistical modeling, are there guidelines that we should use to evaluate these models or compare them? What should we (as in the general public) be taking away from these models? Are there any positive changes you hope to see come out of this pandemic, either as a member of the community or as a math modeler? For a deeper dive into the wonderful world of infectious disease models, we recommend checking out this recent video from Robin Thompson, PhD of Oxford Mathematics titled “How do mathematicians model infectious disease outbreaks?” The video was posted on April 8, 2020.
In 2019, eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, made headlines in much of the US as cases skyrocketed compared to previous years. But why is this disease so feared and even more importantly, why is it on the rise? Those are just a couple of the questions we seek to answer on this week’s episode. From the nitty gritty on what this virus does to your body to centuries-long forest dynamics in Massachusetts, we connect the disease ecology dots of EEE. We promise, the biology and history of eastern equine encephalitis is much more exciting than its etymology.
COVID-19 Chapter 10: Schools

COVID-19 Chapter 10: Schools

2020-04-2301:08:547

In the tenth episode of our Anatomy of a Pandemic series on COVID-19, we continue our exploration of the diverse impacts of this pandemic by taking a look at how education and schooling has been affected, with a particular focus on the United States. Massive school closures and transition to distance learning has revealed vast inequities in access to basic educational needs and has highlighted the importance of public schools as more than just a place to learn. We are joined by journalist Jennifer Berkshire (Twitter: @BisforBerkshire) and education historian Dr. Jack Schneider (Twitter: @Edu_Historian), producers of Have You Heard, a podcast on educational policy and politics, to examine the current challenges in delivering educational content during this pandemic and some implications for the future of public schools (interview recorded April 17, 2020). As always, we wrap up the episode by discussing the top five things we learned from our expert. To help you get a better idea of the topics covered in this episode, we’ve listed the questions below: Have we seen anything like this before, like with the 1918 influenza pandemic and school closures due to polio epidemics? What are some of the services that public schools in the US provide? And how is this pandemic revealing that schools are more than just a place to learn?  Can you talk briefly about the inequalities in education and access and their historical roots? Are these inequalities unique to the United States or are there other countries where similar inequalities are seen or being revealed by this pandemic? Who is being left out in this switch to distance learning?   Can you discuss how well distance learning works across different age groups? Do you think that this epidemic will make policymakers and politicians see the economic value of schools? Or is it going to further decrease funding to schools and result in the dismantling of the public school system? How do you think our definition of school will change after this pandemic? What was the trajectory of funding for public schools before this pandemic? How well does distance learning seem to work?  When schools re-open, what kind of effects are we going to see on current students? Specifically, how do we recover when some kids will have continued to learn during this pandemic and others will likely have fallen further behind?  What positive changes do you hope to see come out of this?
COVID-19 Chapter 9: Economics

COVID-19 Chapter 9: Economics

2020-04-2001:11:2216

Episode 9 of our Anatomy of a Pandemic is here, and this week we’re stepping outside our public health sphere to examine COVID-19 from an entirely different perspective, that of an economist. Pandemics don’t happen in a vacuum, and the ripples of their impact extend far beyond those of public health, as nearly every person can attest to today. We’ve seen headlines about a global recession and high rates of unemployment, but what do those things actually mean? Have we seen something like this before or is this uncharted territory? And most importantly, what can we expect? We were curious to know the answers to these questions but we lack the expertise to take them on ourselves, so we asked economist Martha Gimbel, Manager of Economic Research at Schmidt Futures to join us on this episode about the economic impacts of COVID-19 (interview recorded April 14, 2020). A caveat: this episode focuses mostly on the economic impact of the pandemic in the US. As per usual, we wrap up the episode by discussing the top five things we learned from our expert. To help you get a better idea of the topics covered in this episode, we’ve listed the questions below: What are some of the indicators that we use to know how the economy is performing, and what were the trends we were seeing in the months before this pandemic hit? Could you take us through a timeline of the economic impact, starting with the first signs that the pandemic was having an impact on the global economy? What industries felt the pandemic first, and where do we stand now? Could you break down the impact that we’re seeing on the global economy, the US economy, large corporations, small businesses, and the average consumer? Was there a global recession after the 1918 influenza pandemic? If not, what makes these current circumstances unique? Which countries or industries are the most vulnerable and why? Are certain countries or industries proving to be more resilient in the face of this global recession? Can you talk about the gig economy here and how our reliance on low-paid workers with no protection from their employers has impacted our own economic resilience? Can you talk about the implications of the numbers of unemployment insurance filings that we’re seeing and just how staggering they are? Are the current benefits offered through the unemployment system going to be enough to keep people at home and not seeking work in situations that put them at higher risks of exposure? Are there any general trends or predictions in terms of how long this recession will continue and what it will take to recover? How will we know when we have “recovered”? Are you seeing any innovative solutions that people are proposing or starting to implement in terms of a social safety net? What positive changes do you hope this pandemic will bring about? Where is the money for the stimulus checks coming from? Is that $1200 check going to be enough to keep people going for the next few months?
You don’t look surprised to see this in your podcast feed - or is that just the botox? This week we’re taking a tour of the wonderful world of Clostridium botulinum and the toxin it produces, at once both poison and prescription. First, we delve into how botulinum toxin acts to paralyze your muscles and under what circumstances you might encounter it. Then we iron out the wrinkles of the why of botulinum toxin, an answer that involves migratory birds, maggots, and marshes. The story continues with blood sausages, an unfortunate funeral party, and a massive shift from toxin to treatment as the therapeutic potential of botulinum toxin is explored. And the best part of this episode? Georgia. Hardstark. You’ve heard the always amazing, ever hilarious, and one of our personal heroes Georgia Hardstark on My Favorite Murder, but now listen to her share her firsthand experience with getting botox facial injections. This episode ranks among our top favorites we've ever recorded, and we hope you love it as much as we do!
In the eighth episode in our Anatomy of a Pandemic series focusing on COVID-19, we discuss how this pandemic will likely lead to a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable populations around the globe. “Wash your hands.” “Stay at home.” “Practice physical distancing.” These are the public health messages for how to slow this pandemic. But what happens when you can’t wash your hands because you lack clean water or soap? Or if you can’t stay at home because you’re fleeing a war zone? Dr. Jonathan Whittall, Director of Analysis at Medicines Sans Frontières (aka Doctors Without Borders) joins us to talk about the challenges faced by the most vulnerable populations during this crisis and how MSF is working to overcome those challenges while bracing for the pandemic’s impact (interview recorded April 3, 2020). We wrap up the episode by discussing the top five things we learned from our expert. To help you get a better idea of the topics covered in this episode, we have listed the questions below: What kind of projects are you currently working on? Can you talk about what you're seeing in terms of the differences between this COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergency situations, such as cholera outbreaks in refugee camps or Ebola epidemics? What are some lessons that you think hospitals in other regions can learn from physicians or logistical coordinators that have worked in these situations previously? You wrote a great opinion piece about some of the challenges faced by the most vulnerable populations in trying to prevent infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Can you talk a bit about those challenges and what the most vulnerable populations are? What are some of the ways that MSF has been trying to overcome those challenges?  What have we seen so far in terms of the impact of COVID-19 on these vulnerable populations? MSF has recently expanded their efforts throughout Europe - can you talk about what that expansion looks like and how different groups or activities are prioritized? As a part of a group that works internationally, can you talk about some of the challenges in coordinating this work internationally and why it's so crucial to communicate across borders? There's been a lot of discussion about how this pandemic may change the way we handle public health at national and, especially, international scales. What are some of the changes you hope to see?   Follow Dr. Jonathan Whittall (@offyourrecord) or check out the MSF-Analysis website (http://msf-analysis.org/). And read his fantastic article here: https://gulfnews.com/opinion/op-eds/bracing-for-impact-of-the-coronavirus-1.70570512
Coming at ya with our seventh episode in our Anatomy of a Pandemic series on the ongoing COVID-19 situation. So far in the series, we’ve discussed aspects of the virus’s biology, clinical disease, epidemiology, and control efforts. We’ve briefly touched on aspects of the virus’s ecology, including its origins, but we wanted to take a step back and ask, “how do spillover events happen and how do we stop them?” To answer those questions (and many more), we brought on Dr. Jonna Mazet, Professor of Epidemiology and Disease Ecology at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and Executive Director of the UC Davis One Health Institute, who has spent much of her professional life on the hunt for emerging pathogens (interview recorded April 2, 2020). We pick Dr. Mazet’s brain on how we look for and identify pathogens of possible public health concern, what work disease ecologists are currently doing on SARS-CoV-2, and what we can expect to see in terms of future spillover events. We wrap up the episode by discussing the top five things we learned from our expert. To help you get a better idea of the topics covered in this episode, we have listed the questions below: Can you take us through a step-by-step of how surveillance of novel pathogens is done? From the logistics of international coordination to the sampling to the reporting - what does that look like? What happens when you do identify a potential spillover event? Can you talk about how you decide what a hotspot is? What makes a hotspot a hotspot basically? We've talked a lot on this podcast about spillover events, and obviously they can happen in many different ways, but can you give us a general overview of how one occurs? What are some patterns we see with all spillover events? Over the past 100, 200 years, land use change has increased and the barrier between humans and wildlife has decreased - have we seen a corresponding increase in spillover events during that time? What do we know at this point about how SARS-CoV-2 spilled over into humans? I assume eventually we will get a clearer picture of how that spillover event occurred. How can we use that information in the future? Can you talk about what it means for a pathogen to "jump species"? Do viruses more easily "jump species" compared to bacteria, or is it just that we hear more about the viruses? I'd like to talk about what happens when prevention has to shift to control. What are the first steps taken for disease ecologists studying this outbreak? How is the One Health approach being used to study and slow down the current COVID-19 pandemic? What role do we see wildlife conservation playing in spillover events or preventing them? Can you talk about how there can be a conflict in wildlife conservation for the greater good when people are also just trying to feed their families? How do you determine whether something easily moves between species? Is that a genomic question or is it an experimental question?  What do you think are some of the biggest barriers or challenges in identifying these spillover events in the future? The One Health approach is such a great example of interdisciplinary collaboration. Can you talk about what some of the different fields are that work in One Health? What positive changes do you hope to see come out of this pandemic? Follow Dr. Jonna Mazet (@JonnaMazet), the PREDICT project (@PREDICTproject), and the Global Virome Project (@GlobalVirome). Or check out their websites: One Health Institute (https://ohi.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/), PREDICT (http://data.predict.global/), Global Virome Project (www.globalviromeproject.org). The firsthand account was taken from a piece by Craig Spencer, MD written for the Washington Post titled, “How long will we doctors last?”
It’s back to your regularly scheduled programming this week with an episode on schistosomiasis (aka bilharzia), that scourge both ancient and modern. We kick off the episode by walking you through the amazingly complex life cycle of these blood flukes and the myriad of symptoms they and their eggs can cause, including a “check out the reproductive output on this one!” moment.  We then trace its early appearances in mummies (of course) and ancient writings, following that up with an overview of how imperialism drove the field of tropical medicine in its early days. To wrap up this wormy episode, we discuss the current, staggering numbers on schisto around the globe.
Welcome to Chapter 6 of our Anatomy of a Pandemic series exploring the world of COVID-19. If you have made it this far in the series, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the information we’re throwing your way. You’re not alone. We were feeling a bit too deep down the rabbit hole as well. So we reached out to Rosemary Walker and Peter Rosencrans, two psychology doctoral students at the University of Washington to talk to us about the mental health impacts this pandemic has had and walk us through some coping strategies (interview recorded March 20, 2020). Hang in there, everyone. To help you get a better idea of the topics covered in this episode, we have listed the questions below: You are both in Seattle, which has been impacted longer than much of the US, so, how are you? (05:55) This is a brand new situation for all of us that's affecting so much more than our physical health.So what are we seeing in terms of some of the mental health outcomes? (09:21) What are some of the challenges that you, as mental health professionals, have faced so far and that you expect to appear in the future related to COVID-19? (15:59) What are some coping strategies that we could use to deal with some of these issues? (19:15) What are some resources for people who normally see a therapist, but who cannot now because of COVID-19? (31:43) How can we as individuals be good neighbors, community members, in this stressful time while still protecting our mental health? (36:50) Do you have any specific resources that our listeners could seek out? (41:09)
Chapter 5 of our Anatomy of a Pandemic series covering all things COVID-19 goes through some of the exciting developments in potential vaccines for this new virus. Starting us off is an anonymous account describing the challenges faced by someone in the US trying to get tested for COVID-19. Then we review some of the basics of vaccines - how they work, the different kinds, and some of the challenges in accelerating the vaccine development pipeline during a crisis such as this. We sought the expert knowledge of Dr. M. Elena Bottazzi (interview recorded March 17, 2020), who is part of a group that is currently working on developing a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. She answers a number of your vaccine- and treatment-related questions and sheds some light on the prospects of vaccine development for this particular disease. We wrap up again by going through the top five things we learned from our expert. To help you get a better idea of the topics covered in this episode, we have listed the questions below: What makes this virus a good candidate for a vaccine? (11:05) Why is it more difficult these days to produce completely protective vaccines vs partially protective vaccines? (13:29) How is the vaccine that your group is working on made, what is its target and how does it work? (16:02) What is the timeline of vaccine development, testing, deployment, and how soon might we see an effective vaccine for SARS-CoV-2? (21:19) What steps of this development process can be shortened to get an 'early release' of a vaccine? (25:49) It seems we are better at developing vaccines than we are antivirals; why is this? (28:55)
The fourth installment of our Anatomy of a Pandemic series takes a look at some of the epidemiological characteristics of the COVID-19 pandemic. But first, we hear about the experience of Katie Burson, who was quarantined along with her family on the infamous Diamond Princess cruise ship in February 2020, when cases of COVID-19 were reported among guests. Then we review some of the disease ecology of the SARS-CoV-2 spillover event and walk through a timeline of the pandemic, which, we have to admit, is pretty chilling to hear. We are joined by Dr. Carlos del Rio (interview recorded March 20, 2020), who chats with us about updated estimates for the R0 of SARS-CoV-2, reasons for regional variation in case fatality rates, and what the deal is with the slow rollout of tests in the US. We wrap up again by going through the top five things we learned from our expert. To help you get a better idea of the topics covered in this episode, we have listed the questions below: Do we know what the R0 is for this virus? (27:44) Is there a risk for a second wave of infection in China or other places where the disease seems to be slowing down? (29:31) What are the stages of an epidemic curve and what does it mean to flatten that curve? (31:03) Are people who get infected able to be re-infected or are they immune? (32:45) What is the relative effect of social distancing vs herd immunity? (33:31) How can we convince people who can stay home to actually stay home? (34:40) What are the differences between populations that contribute to the differences in case fatality rate between China vs Italy vs South Korea, etc? (36:28) What might we see in terms of numbers of infections or how long the outbreak will last? What's the end game? (38:00) Should the measures that have been enacted in some parts of the US be happening even in places with fewer cases so far? (40:55) Is this virus likely to become well established and another 'seasonal' respiratory infection? (42:16) What's the deal with testing in the US? Why was rollout so slow at the beginning? (43:14) When should a person try to get tested if they suspect they're infected? (45:58) What has this outbreak taught us so far about our ability to respond to pandemics, and how can we do better moving forward? (46:36)
Welcome to the third chapter of our Anatomy of a Pandemic series, in which we cover the many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this chapter, we discuss how epidemic control can be managed from the individual, state, and national levels, as well as the importance of international collaboration to prevent the uncontrolled spread of disease. We start off with a firsthand account from Dr. Colleen Kraft, featured in COVID-19 Chapter 2, who shares the challenges she faces on a daily basis during this crisis while acting as Associate Chief Medical Officer at Emory University Hospital. Then we review some of the terms you’ve probably seen all over the news lately, such as “flattening the curve” or “social distancing”. Dr. Krutika Kuppalli (interview recorded March 18, 2020) shares with us her expertise from a global health and pandemic preparedness perspective, and she answers some of your questions relating to the steps you can take to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community. We wrap up again by going through the top five things we learned from our expert. To help you get a better idea of the topics covered in this episode, we have listed the questions below: Now that community transmission is established in the US, what can we do to slow it down? (18:05) Do we need to enact these control measures (social distancing, etc.) everywhere, even in places currently have low case numbers? (19:51) Are travel bans effective in slowing disease spread? (21:20) How can we tell if our control measures are working? (22:52) How soon do we expect to see the effect of these control measures? (24:00) There have been a lot of comparisons with seasonal influenza. How does COVID-19 compare to seasonal influenza and why are we taking such extreme measures to reduce the spread of this disease when we don't do so for seasonal influenza? (25:22) How well prepared was the US for this epidemic? (28:25) What have we learned so far to help us stop the spread of this pandemic and prepare for future pandemics? (31:19) What are the risks as this pandemic spreads to less well-resourced areas? (33:39)
This marks the second installment in our Anatomy of a Pandemic series, in which we discuss the various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this second chapter, we explore what we currently know about the disease itself, from symptom progression to incubation period and the role that asymptomatic individuals play in the transmission of disease. Our firsthand account, told from the perspective of a respiratory therapist, illustrates the severity of this disease and the frightening, yet very real, prospect of running out of medical equipment, protective gear, and hospital beds. We then discuss what we currently know about COVID-19 from a clinical disease perspective. We are joined by Dr. Colleen Kraft (interview recorded March 19, 2020), whose voice you may recognize from our first episode on coronaviruses. She helps to break down some of the disease-related questions sent in by our listeners. We wrap up the episode by discussing the top five things we learned from our expert. To help you get a better idea of the topics covered in this episode, we have listed the questions below: What does "respiratory droplet" transmission mean, and how is this different from something with "airborne" transmission? (15:08) What are the symptoms of COVID-19? (16:48) How long is the disease course, and how does this vary between mild vs severe symptoms? (18:45) What does "supportive care" mean in the context of caring for people who fall severely ill from COVID-19? (19:40) How much does viral load correlate with the severity of symptoms? (20:47) What is the incubation period of this disease, how long do people remain infectious, and are asymptomatic people contributing to the spread of disease? (22:22)  What are the groups that are particularly at risk for severe disease? (24:00) Why do children seem to be more resistant to this infection? What about children who are immunocompromised, are they at risk? (27:40) What is the case fatality rate, and how might we expect it to change throughout the course of this pandemic? (29:09) Are there long term complications associated with COVID-19? (31:58) Is it possible to get re-infected if you get this virus and then recover? (32:54) The full article our firsthand account came from can be found here: https://www.propublica.org/article/a-medical-worker-describes--terrifying-lung-failure-from-covid19-even-in-his-young-patients
To discuss the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are introducing Anatomy of a Pandemic, a series in which each episode tackles a particular aspect of COVID-19, from virus biology to clinical disease, from control efforts to epidemiological patterns, from vaccine development to mental health coping strategies during this uncertain time. And we’ve got a quarantini (and placeborita) recipe for each installment! In the first episode of this series, we tackle some of your questions about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that is responsible for COVID-19 (aka COronaVIrus Disease-2019). Our episode begins with a firsthand account from Tiziano, a schoolteacher in northeastern Italy who has been living under the strict movement restrictions imposed by the Italian government in an attempt to limit the spread of the disease. Then, we review some of the basics about SARS-CoV-2 and RNA viruses in general. To help us discern fact from fiction, we seek the expertise of a virologist, Dr. Angela Rasmussen (interview recorded March 15, 2020), who answers some of the listener-submitted questions about the virus itself. We wrap up the episode by discussing the top five things we learned from our expert. To help you get a better idea of the topics covered in this episode, we have listed the questions below: What are the origins of this virus? Where did it come from? How can we tell whether this virus originated from one spillover event or multiple? What do we know about the mechanism of how this virus causes disease in humans? Are there multiple strains of SARS-CoV-2, and how do different strains of virus affect disease severity?  Is there a risk of SARS-CoV-2 mutating into something more deadly?  What is Remdesivir and how does it work?  How does handwashing work to reduce transmission risk? How long can SARS-CoV-2 live on surfaces?  What is the minimum infective dose of SARS-CoV-2?
Everyone loves a good poop story, don’t they? We certainly hope so, because our good friend Katie shares a fantastic one to kick off our episode on lactose intolerance. In this episode, we explore what lactose is and the symptoms that lactose non-digesters experience when they eat some sneaky cheese or ice cream. Then we explain that this episode is actually flipped - turns out that not being able to digest lactose is the normal state, and those of us who can are actually the mutants! We trace the origins of this mutant allele and how the persistence of pastoralism spread milk drinking far and wide. Where do we stand with lactose intolerance today? Tune in for that answer and for an abundance of milk facts to arm yourself with for the next pub trivia night.
Ep 45 Hepatitis C: Hepatiti?

Ep 45 Hepatitis C: Hepatiti?

2020-03-0301:16:2113

From its discovery only 30 years ago to the recent development of an effective treatment, the short life of the Hepatitis C virus certainly has been action-packed. This week, we take you through the biology of this deadly virus by exploring its cancer-causing qualities and pondering the plural of hepatitis. Then we take a stroll through the often bizarre and disturbing history of blood technology, discussing how a lack of sterilization and screening allowed for the proliferation of the Hepatitis C virus around the world. Finally we ask, “what’s going on in the world of Hepatitis C today?” Spoilers: it’s not all bad! As long as you can afford the treatment of course...
[TRIGGER WARNING: see below]  Whooping cough, that terrible childhood scourge, has been making an alarming comeback due to lapses in vaccination coverage across the globe. And in this episode, we’ll tell you why exactly its return is a cause for concern. From the devastation it wreaks on the body to the untold tragedy of past epidemics, pertussis is a dreaded disease that was nearly relegated to the past thanks to the amazing efforts of three incredible researchers, Pearl Kendrick, Grace Eldering, and Loney Gordon. But as the provider of our firsthand account illustrates, pertussis is still very much present today. We are joined by the incredible Catherine Hughes, who does us the honor of sharing her story about her son Riley and her efforts to raise awareness about the importance of childhood vaccinations.   Read more about the Light for Riley campaign and the Immunisation Foundation of Australia to see the hugely important work being done.   Trigger Warning: The firsthand account of this episode features the death of an infant. If you do not wish to hear this, skip to 5:10.
Ep 43 M-m-m-my Coronaviruses

Ep 43 M-m-m-my Coronaviruses

2020-02-0401:51:1653

What better time to explore the world of coronaviruses than amidst an outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus that brings to mind memories of SARS and MERS? On this very special episode of This Podcast Will Kill You, we’ll take you through what we know about this diverse group of viruses, from the mild strains constantly circulating to the epidemic ones that make headlines with their lethality. Want to know how exactly these royal viruses make you sick? Or what went on during the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic? Don’t worry - we’ve got you covered. And to help us get a grasp on the current 2019-nCoV outbreak that’s got the world’s attention, we’ve brought on four experts from Emory University to give us the lowdown: Dr. Colleen Kraft, Dr. G. Marshall Lyon, Dr. Aneesh Mehta, and Dr. Carlos del Rio. *Please keep in mind, we recorded this episode on Sunday, Feb 2 and conducted the interviews between Jan 29 and 30, 2020. Since recording, the statistics on 2019-nCoV that we and our guests reported have changed as the epidemic continues to evolve. The figures are changing fast, but the basic info is still relevant. To follow the 2019-nCoV outbreak, our experts recommend the following as reliable sources of information: WHO 2019-nCoV website, especially the Situation Reports Map Dashboard of 2019-nCoV Cases by Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering CDC 2019-nCoV website And to learn more about the amazing work that our special guests do on the regular, follow them on Twitter! Colleen S. Kraft, MD, MSc (@colleenkraftmd) G. Marshall Lyon, MD, MMSc (@GMLyon3) Aneesh K. Mehta, M.D., FIDSA, FAST (@AneeshMehtaMD) Carlos del Rio, MD (@CarlosdelRio7)
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Comments (215)

BC

Oh wow, the guest in this episode is truly amazing.

May 30th
Reply

George Bush

Thank you

May 17th
Reply

BC

This is a lot of good information but I don't understand most of it. all these names are going over my head.

May 16th
Reply (1)

BC

This was a hard episode to listen to. There's so much suffering right now, and some people have to deal with it directly every day. I can't imagine how hard it must be for healthcare professionals right now.

May 5th
Reply

Jean Tucker

love this show! I like learning in a fun way and the historical context is very interesting. also I'm a doctor and I appreciate how your research and content is spot on. PS ignore cranky troll comments. love from Australia ❤️

Apr 22nd
Reply

Abby

nobody: erin: mmhmm

Apr 18th
Reply

Alexandra Freeman

I love your podcast! can you guys to a episode on epstein barr virus? thanks!

Apr 17th
Reply

InsufferableInsanity

it's hard to believe that this is only about 2 weeks old and already feels so behind

Apr 6th
Reply

Anna Lew

the CDC is now recommending EVERYONE wear a mask in public. do you think this is so sick ppl are more likely wear masks?

Apr 5th
Reply (2)

Lisa Johnson

omfg! this episode is only a couple of weeks old and the reported number of infections in the US was less than 8K??? it's currently over 300K.

Apr 5th
Reply (2)

Authentictalks 2.0

I love the name of the podcast, it’s perfect lol

Apr 3rd
Reply

Jessica Freilino Biersack

I appreciate the politics and the laughter, please ladies don't change anything. Just like everything else in this world, disease does not happen in a vacuum: politics changes the way we respond to health issues. I wish we could treat our health problems using science only, with no political influence. Until politics relinquishes it's uneducated strangle hold on medical science it's going to be part of the discussion.

Mar 17th
Reply

Xiao Forrest

As of March 10, Trump still isn't acknowledging that this is a public health issue. All the actually qualified CDC directors are too scared to condemn this administration's lack of accountability and honesty with the public for fear of being fired. Please, stay informed, don't listen to the president rant about how he should have been a doctor and how this is already on its way to eradication.

Mar 11th
Reply

Neko Lyttle

The CDC has been advising people to wash their hands to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and all I can hear in my head is " wash your hands, you filthy animals" lol. Thanks guys you've been telling us for a long time. ps: I didn't get to the Corona virus episode yet

Mar 11th
Reply

Ro

1:12:20 for COVID-19 'history'

Mar 8th
Reply

J

These women are amazing. They make any topic fascinating and they both have such charming nuances.

Mar 5th
Reply

Matt Harper

Great episode

Mar 4th
Reply

alfrun koldewitz

I freaking love your podcast. I'm in finals right now and it's stressing me out. Then a friend told me about this podcast and I fell in love with it. Every time I have time to relax, I listen to you and am happy to not just relax but to also learn things I usually wouldn't hear about. Thank you so much! But also: please people, stop trying to promote your own podcast. I feel it's kind of respect less towards this podcast. Thank you

Feb 29th
Reply

Emma Burton

polio please!!!!!!!

Feb 24th
Reply

BC

The mother's story about her son's experience with Pertussis is so powerful. I think everyone should hear it.

Feb 18th
Reply
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