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).
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
55:20 – Crowdsourced 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?
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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:
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.