About the Origin of SARS-CoV-2 Part 2: discussion with the WHO investigation team

Listen to some of the members of the WHO team sent to the probe the origin of SARS-CoV-2. Get clarification on the aim of the recently concluded investigations and next phase of investigation. Hopefully any misunderstanding you might have had about the team’s report would be cleared up.

Also watch Vincent Racaniello interview Robert Garry on a second round of talks on the origin of SARS-CoV-2. This time they get into the molecular biology of the pandemic coronavirus like its RBD and furin cleavage site. Enjoy.


In general, the TWiV podcast is excellent. I’m about halfway through the 760 episode. Looking forward to listening to 762, as well!


I discovered the TWiV podcast during the pandemic when I was looking for a free, basic virology course to help expand my knowledge about viruses and wade through information about them as the pandemic progressed. Vincent’s 2020 basic virology course came up and so did hits on the TWiV podcast. I ignored the TWiV podcast and followed through with the course. Of course, I realized later that the course instructor was the same person who ran the TWiV podcast and that made me look at some episodes. TWiV is a treasure trove for all those seeking high-quality information on “viruses, the kind that make you sick”.

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Both interviews were awesome. For one, I got to know that the WHO investigation is to proceed in two phases and the recently concluded phase 1 was done to ascertain the likelihood of the various scenarios on the origin of SARS-CoV-2. When you read media reports (or the ones I have read) on the WHO investigation, things like the two-phased investigation plan and the aim of the concluded phase 1 are never mentioned, making it seem like the investigators were completely done with trying to uncover how the virus made the jump into human populations.

A very good grad school friend did a couple of post-docs and eventually became a Research Assistant Professor in Rich Condit’s lab. She really enjoyed working with him.

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What type of research does Rich conduct?

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He’s retired now, but did tons of work on Poxviruses.

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Oops. He’s retired physically but not in spirit and Poxviruses are cool subjects of research (until you get one and scratch like you are cuckoo for a week or more). Sometimes I wish I could get the opportunity to do graduate research in a lab like his.

I know Bob Garry from joint work on Ebola and Lassa, and probably other things as well.

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Yeah he mentioned he had worked on Lassa virus and its an effort I appreciate considering we have had disease outbreaks related to the virus here in Nigeria. You have done a lot of work too Steve. It must have been great collaborating with all these people.

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