Episode #10 – Shaswath Sekar – Coronavirus 101 with a virologist

In the latest episode, I got the amazing opportunity to have a much-needed conversation with Shaswath Sekar, a virologist in training, who is working on a vaccine for COVID-19 – with the deluge of information dumped upon us by the media, anecdotes from friends and strangers, it has become really messy to understand the crux of this deadly virus – its origin, impact, and what the science community is doing to get rid of it.

That’s why I got in touch with someone who’s been in the field, fighting the coronavirus long before any of us had even heard its name.

Presenting to you Coronavirus 101 – everything you wanted to know about the coronavirus from an expert’s perspective (including why calling it the coronavirus is not really accurate).

Episode guide:-

02:40 – As a virologist, what does your day look like?
08:20 – How has the working landscape changed in light of the pandemic?
13:00 – What were the first few weeks like when this got blown up? How was the response within the virologist community?
16:08 – SARS-COV2, COVID-19, Coronavirus – are they all one and the same?18:48 – How the virus evolved strong enough to infect humans?
25:47 – Why bats are the chief instigators of so many deadly viruses?
27:20 – Why do different people get affected in a different manner – asymptotic, symptomatic, severity. 33:30 – Correlation between blood type and the risk of getting affected
39:10 – What goes on behind the scenes when a person takes a COVID-19 test – why does it take so long to get the results?
49:50 – Could we have actually prevented this pandemic – SARS COV-1, Bill Gates’ prediction, etc.
54:25 – Impact of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on the science community
55:20Crowdsourced Q&A’s – transmission dynamics, food safety, Immunity, Ayurvedic medicine. 
01:11:21 – What are some of the promising drugs, works on vaccine, etc.
01:16:28 – Are measures to flattening the curve still relevant in a country like India?

Click on any of the icons to listen to the episode in your favorite platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play music. 

Prefer listening on Desktop or Mac? 

Dive right in.


Show Notes:-

Here’s a curation of some of the resources Shaswath refers to in the course of our chat along with some insightful ones I came across during my prep:

Opinion | How Long Will a Vaccine Really Take?

The next outbreak? We’re not ready | Bill Gates

Can You Get Coronavirus Twice?

The Remarkable Case of the Missouri Hair Salon

The Latest: Your blood type and the coronavirus

U.S. companies, labs rush to produce blood test for coronavirus immunity

Disclaimer: This episode is an attempt to help people better understand some of the nuances around the pandemic from the eyes of a virologist – any advice/ suggestions made are meant to be a reference and only be exercised after consulting a medical professional. 

Visit WHO for up-to-date information on the pandemic.

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