This Podcast Will Kill You

Jan 12 2021 74 mins 27.7k

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







COVID-19 Chapter 14: Virology, Take 2
Jan 05 2021 62 mins  
The fourteenth installment of our Anatomy of a Pandemic series on COVID-19 dives into what we’ve learned about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Curious about the new strains or variants making headlines lately? Or how exactly tests for COVID-19 actually work? Or perhaps you’ve been wondering about the different routes of transmission that this virus uses. Whatever your virology question, we’ve (hopefully) got you covered. We were fortunate enough to interview virologist Dr. Angela Rasmussen, affiliate at the Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security, and whom you may remember from our earlier episode on the virology of SARS-CoV-2, which we released all the way back in March 2020. Dr. Rasmussen was kind enough to sit back down with us to answer all of our many burning virology questions (interview recorded December 30, 2020). As always, we wrap up the episode by discussing the top five things we learned from our expert. If you would like to read Dr. Rasmussen's article in The Guardian about the new SARS-CoV-2 variants, follow this link. To help you get a better idea of the topics covered in this episode, we’ve listed the questions below: Can you tell us a bit about SARS-CoV-2? What kind of virus it is, other viruses it’s related to, and what that tells us about the virus and the disease it causes? Could you tell us a bit more about the B117 strain, like whether this appears to be a new strain and how it is different? Do we have any evidence of any strains that seem to cause more severe disease or affect different populations? Where do these new strains come from? What does this new strain (or multiple new strains) mean for the effectiveness of the vaccines that have been developed? Will these vaccines work against these new strains? What additional things have we learned about the structure or surface proteins of SARS-CoV-2 that give us more insight into how it causes disease or the widespread effects it has on the body? Is there any indication that the virus can be airborne? Does fecal-oral transmission seem to be playing a role? What are the various ways to test for SARS-CoV-2? Can you walk us through what each experience is like? How do the rapid vs PCR tests work? And can you compare their accuracy? Why does the rapid test have a higher rate of false negatives than the PCR test? What has this pandemic taught us about virology? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.





COVID-19 Chapter 13: Vaccines, Take 2
Dec 22 2020 79 mins  
We’re back with another episode in our Anatomy of a Pandemic series on COVID-19. This time, our subject matter is the one everyone has been waiting for: vaccines. In this episode, with the help of two amazing guests, we attempt to answer all of your burning questions about the new vaccines for the virus that causes COVID-19. We walk you through the ins and outs of the technology behind these vaccines, the safety and regulation steps required for their approval, and some of the logistical challenges involved in their distribution. For this info-packed episode, we were so fortunate to be joined by Dr. Maria Sundaram (interview recorded Dec 14, 2020), postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto Center for Vaccine Preventable Diseases and fellow at ICES and Dr. Orin Levine (interview recorded Nov 24, 2020), Director of Vaccine Delivery at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As always, we wrap up the episode by discussing the top five things we learned from our experts. If at the end of this interview, your curiosity about vaccines is not quite satisfied, check out the COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker website, which is an incredible resource for pretty much anything you could ever want to know about these vaccines. To help you get a better idea of the topics covered in this episode, we’ve listed the questions below: Can you break down what the three potentially successful COVID-19 vaccines are and how each of them work? What are in these vaccines? What are the ingredients and what do they do? There has been some misunderstanding that these vaccines have the potential to give you COVID-19. Can you explain why that isn’t possible? Why are people being advised to wear a mask even after getting vaccinated? What does the timeline look like for these vaccines until we can go to the doctor or pharmacy and get one? Is it a valid concern that this vaccine was developed so rapidly? And could you walk us through some of the steps being taken to ensure safety and efficacy of a vaccine? Can you talk about what emergency use authorization means and whether we’ve seen this before and under what circumstances? Why should people be no more scared of this vaccine than the usual vaccines, like MMR and seasonal influenza? How likely is it that additional side effects we haven’t yet seen or long-term side effects will emerge later on? What do we know about the risk of vaccine-induced antibody-dependent enhancement with this vaccine? What do we know so far about the efficacy of these vaccines? Can you walk us through efficacy vs effectiveness in terms of vaccines? What do we know so far about how long immunity is expected to last from the various vaccines that are close to completion? What are some of the issues with clinical trials in vaccine development in terms of getting a representative subsection of the population and what does this mean for who may be able to get a vaccine once one is ready? Why do you still need to get vaccinated even if you’ve already had COVID-19? For our listeners who may know someone who is hesitant to receive the vaccine, what advice or reassurance can you give them that choosing to get one of these vaccines is a better option than taking your chances with COVID-19? What are the biggest hurdles to vaccine distribution here in the US? What are the biggest hurdles in terms of global distribution of the vaccine? And what is being done to address some of these challenges in vaccine access? We’ve heard about some countries pre-purchasing large stocks of vaccines, how may that affect the global availability especially in lower income countries? How might the availability of several different successful COVID-19 vaccines affect how different countries build their vaccine supply or distribution chain? Could you talk about how skepticism surrounding vaccines plays into not only vaccine development but administration, and what can be done to rebuild trust in those communities? How do you think this pandemic will change the way that we view either emerging infectious diseases or vaccines in the future? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.




COVID-19 Chapter 12: Control, Take 2
Dec 10 2020 56 mins  
That’s right, we are rebooting our Anatomy of a Pandemic series in which we cover various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has held the world in its grip since early 2020. Since our first episodes in the series dropped in March of this year, we have learned quite a lot about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the disease it causes, patterns in its transmission, and of course, how we can best control it. In our first episode back, we focus on this last facet by exploring what we now know about policies and practices that work best to slow the spread of this virus and dive into some of the nuance surrounding masks, infection hot spots, and traveling. For this episode, we were so delighted to chat with Dr. Saskia Popescu, infectious disease epidemiologist and infection preventionist and Assistant Professor of Biodefense at George Mason University (interview recorded December 4, 2020) (Twitter: @SaskiaPopescu). 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 have we seen so far in terms of regional or statewide control policies or practices that seem to best work for infection control? How might something like a nationwide mask mandate or even just fact-based, rational messaging have changed the course of this pandemic in the US? Can you highlight some of the patterns in the policies or practices of the countries where COVID-19 has been pretty well managed, in your opinion? Basically, what are other countries doing better than we are? Which individual behaviors or practices have been shown to be the most effective for virus control? Can you break down some of the different types of masks and explain which types of masks seem to be doing a pretty great job of slowing transmission and which ones may not be as effective? Our knowledge of where transmission is most likely to occur has become more nuanced as the pandemic has continued. How do things like grocery store visits and outdoor runs compare to indoor dining or working out in a gym? What are we seeing as hot spots of infection and what are safer than we previously thought? Although we know much more now than we did at the beginning of this pandemic, the fundamentals of the virus’s transmission and the ways we can control it haven’t really changed. So where is this surge of cases coming from? Do you think the lockdowns or increased restrictions being put into place in some high prevalence locations will have the same effect in flattening this third wave as they seemed to earlier in this pandemic? Do you think we’ll see a reduction in seasonal respiratory infections overall due to the mask wearing, increased handwashing, and social distancing people are practicing? What are the steps people can take to be as safe as possible if they are committed to traveling during this holiday season? What would you say to those experiencing COVID fatigue? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Ep 61 Typhoid: There's Something About Mary
Dec 01 2020 87 mins  
Your long wait is finally over - the season four premiere of This Podcast Will Kill You has arrived! And to mark the special occasion, we’re taking on a topic that is both classic TPWKY material as well as enormously relevant to current discussions in public health. Typhoid fever has been the cause of untold death and devastation throughout human history, and despite our advancements in both treatment and prevention of the disease, it continues to wreak havoc on millions of people around the world every year. This week, we take a trip through the terror of typhoid, starting by tracing the journey this bacterium makes through your body before taking a look at the long history of typhoid in human populations. And what story of typhoid would be complete without Typhoid Mary? We examine the plight of Mary Mallon in the context of today’s COVID-19 pandemic and discuss the tension that often arises between individual and community rights in matters of public health. Finally, we wrap things up with a look at the current status of typhoid fever around the world (spoilers: it’s pretty terrible) as well as some promising developments on the horizon (spoilers: okay, it might not all be bad!). We are so excited to be back with you this season, coming through your headphones with some casual chat about diseases throughout human history! As always, we are happy to hear from you about what you’d like us to cover, so send any suggestions through our website contact form. For your TPWKY merch needs, check out the sweet offerings on our shop's page. And for extra reading, you can find references for each episode on the episode page or check out our bookshop.org affiliate page or our Goodreads list. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.









Ep 57 Herpes: Stop the STIgma
Sep 01 2020 85 mins  
The harm caused by herpes simplex viruses (HSV) 1 & 2 often arises not from the pathology of the viruses themselves but rather from the stigma and shame associated with a positive diagnosis. In this episode, we attempt to lay a clear foundation for understanding not only how these viruses work but also what occurred to change the perception of them from “innocuous infection” to “dreaded disease”. Starting us off with his firsthand account is the incredible Courtney Brame, founder and host of Something Positive for Positive People, a non-profit organization and podcast that aims to provide community support, healing resources, and educational discussions around positive HSV and other STI diagnoses as well as larger issues in sexuality and physical and mental health. We then dive into the meat of the episode, tackling such questions as “how do these viruses hide out in your body?”, “what kind of treatment is available?”, “where did these viruses even come from?” and “why is there such a huge amount of stigma and what can we do about it?”. To help us address this last question is our other fantastic guest, Dr. Ina Park, Associate Professor, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and Medical Consultant, Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We chat with Dr. Park about her new book, Strange Bedfellows, when to have “the talk” with your kids, and how we as individuals can break down some of the shame surrounding a positive STI diagnosis. To learn more about Something Positive for Positive People, head to the website spfpp.org or check out the SPFPP podcast wherever you get your podcasts! You can also follow Courtney on Instagram: @honmychest. And don’t forget to pre-order Dr. Ina Park’s upcoming book Strange Bedfellows: Adventures in the Science, History, and Surprising Secrets of STDs, expected February 2021. You can find out more about Dr. Park and her work on her website or by following her on Twitter: @InaParkMD or Facebook: Ina Park. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Ep 56 Sickle Cell Disease: Invisible Illness, Enduring Strength
Aug 18 2020 119 mins  
Neglected and ignored by the medical establishment throughout most of its history, sickle cell disease remains one of the most common (and commonly misunderstood) genetic conditions in the world. In this episode, we break down the myriad effects that one nucleotide substitution can have on the human body and discuss the basics of what it means when blood cells sickle. Continuing with the theme of the seen and unseen, we then turn to the history of sickle cell disease, a history of long-standing injustice and the unending fight to raise awareness and provide support for those impacted by the condition. And as always, we wrap up with a discussion on the current global status of sickle cell disease and some exciting new treatment options on the horizon. We are so honored and thrilled to be joined this episode by not one, not two, but three incredible guests! You’ll hear first from Marsha Howe and Sharif Tusuubira, who share with us some of their firsthand experiences living with sickle cell disease. And then in our current status section, Dr. Megan Hochstrasser from the Innovative Genomics Institute walks us through the mind-blowing genome editing approaches being used to treat genetic conditions such as sickle cell disease. You can follow Marsha on her website for her non-profit organization and blog “My Life With Sickle Cell” as well as through her social media channels: Twitter: @MarshaMLWSC, Instagram: @marsha_h181, Facebook: Marsha Howe. And make sure to check out B Positive Choir too! Twitter: @bpositivechoir and Instagram: @bpositivechoir. Learn more about Sharif Tusuubira’s amazing advocacy efforts on his website and through his social media channels: Twitter: @tkksharif, Instagram: @tkksharif, Facebook: Sharif Kiragga Tusuubira. You can also watch his 2017 talk in Washington, DC as a Mandela Washington Fellow. And to learn more about the futuristic-sounding research being done at the Innovative Genomics Institute (including using CRISPR to develop a faster, cheaper coronavirus test!), you can follow Megan (@thecrispress) and IGI (@igisci) on Twitter, or head to their website. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.











Ep 51 The Path of Most (Antibiotic) Resistance
May 26 2020 110 mins  
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. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.





COVID-19 Ch 11: Modeling
May 04 2020 81 mins  
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. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.




COVID-19 Chapter 10: Schools
Apr 23 2020 66 mins  
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? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


COVID-19 Chapter 9: Economics
Apr 20 2020 69 mins  
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? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.





COVID-19 Chapter 8: Disparities
Apr 09 2020 58 mins  
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 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


COVID-19 Chapter 7: Spillover
Apr 06 2020 61 mins  
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?” See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.




COVID-19 Chapter 6: Mental Health
Mar 23 2020 47 mins  
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) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.



COVID-19 Chapter 5: Vaccines
Mar 23 2020 43 mins  
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) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


COVID-19 Chapter 4: Epidemiology
Mar 23 2020 59 mins  
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) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


COVID-19 Chapter 3: Control
Mar 23 2020 54 mins  
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) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


COVID-19 Chapter 2: Disease
Mar 23 2020 48 mins  
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 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


COVID-19 Chapter 1: Virology
Mar 23 2020 58 mins  
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? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.









Ep 43 M-m-m-my Coronaviruses
Feb 04 2020 108 mins  
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) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.






































Ep 26 Vaccines part 1: Let's hear it for Maurice
May 14 2019 124 mins  
The wait is finally over: this week we are very excited to bring you the episode we’ve been teasing for weeks: vaccines! This week and next (you don’t have to wait a full two weeks for the next episode!), we are presenting a two-part series on vaccines. In today’s episode, we dive deep into the biology of vaccines, from how they stimulate your (amazing) immune system to protect you, to how they make you into an almost-superhero, shielding the innocents around you from deadly infections. We take you back hundreds, nay, thousands of years to when something akin to vaccination first began, and then we walk along the long road of vaccine development to see just how massive an impact vaccines have had on the modern world. The best part? We are joined by not one, but two experts from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Gail Rodgers and Dr. Padmini Srikantiah explain the process of vaccine development, highlight the challenges of vaccine deployment, and shine a hopeful light on the future of vaccines. And be sure to tune in next week for part 2 where we’ll focus on vaccine hesitancy and address common misconceptions surrounding vaccines in even more depth. For more information on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initiatives, visit: https://www.gatesfoundation.org/ For more information on vaccines currently in development, check out: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ and https://www.who.int/immunization/research/vaccine_pipeline_tracker_spreadsheet/en/ And, as always, you can find all of the sources we used in this episode on our website: http://thispodcastwillkillyou.com/episodes/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.





























































4.7 • 15 Ratings

BrotatoChip622 Dec 26 2020
Great explanation and answers to questions about the vaccine!

lucas Nov 25 2020
Fantastic podcast. My favourite.






RadicalLeft Oct 21 2020
You never knew you needed a podcast about diseases until now. The two Erins discuss and explain diseases in a way that is easy for lay people to understand without talking down to the listeners. Wash your hands and buckle up to learn WHY you should wash them. And get your vaccines.

littlepodcastlis Oct 15 2020
This podcast is hilarious, informative and a little gross. Love it.

beeb Sep 29 2020
They use the term pregnant people to refer to pregnant women. Thought this was a science based podcast? Apparently not.

jesska Sep 28 2020
Love how passionate these ladies are! They do a great job!

Th3mandalore Aug 19 2020
Lol. I have this podcast on my to listen list for over 2 years and I just decided to play it during corona. People are making the same mistakes like in 1918. The second wave will be epic






araveug Jul 20 2020
Really enjoyed episode one about Spanish Flu. Great to hear our didn't come from Spain but that was the politically acceptable country to blame at the time and that we have waltzed into Covid-19 making all the samevstupid mistakes. I really enjoyed the relaxed delivery of the podcast which was both informative and engaging. I'll be playing catch up with the other 50 episodes.

Schnitzel Fritz May 15 2020
An important topic to explore, which so few others are. The summary was extremely helpful. Thanks gals.

Joey86 May 14 2020
Intresting and informative

drno May 11 2020
A welcome episode, interesting and covid free.

golasa23 May 10 2020
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NecroParagon May 09 2020
Two lovely women talking about some of the most harrowing things. 10/10 would recommend.

jade_of_course May 05 2020
I always look forward to new episodes! The Erins make disease ecology both fun and informative in a way that anyone can understand and enjoy.

Ophion May 02 2020
A great source of scientific information