Episode 35. Understanding Covid19 (SARS-CoV-2) One Year In


Episode Summary:

Background and current Covid19 (& vaccine) information will leave you optimistic about and informed on: what science, public health, individuals & communities have achieved in our understanding of and fight against Covid19 in the past year. We’ve come a long way, fast.


Paul Pottinger, M.D.. Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Disease, University of Washington, Seattle WA.

During This Episode We Discuss:

  • Covid A-Z in Dr. Pottinger’s very straightforward and understandable explanations.
  • Genomics 
  • We begin for non-science-oriented listeners and review basics, viruses versus bacteria.
  • Covid in terms of a disease, a virus that really doesn’t care which side of the political spectrum you adhere to. 
  • Respiratory spread and its ability to propagate itself makes it so difficult to control.
  • The current limitations of science in being able to select who might be a “long hauler” with chronic symptoms makes protecting everyone a public health mandate.
  • At-risk individuals.
  • The eloquence of the vaccines and their safety and efficacy are reviewed.
  • This episode is an excellent source of factual information on Covid19.

Quotes (Tweetables):

“DNA works because it’s the code for the protein that makes our body. In order for DNA to make our protein, our skin, our bones, our eyeballs, it has to go through an intermediate step, which is called RNA (Ribonucleic Acid). Ribonucleic Acid is very important, we can’t live without it, it’s how we move from the blueprint over to the productive thing. It’s sort of like if you think of DNA being the computer code and then your laser printer is your RNA, what you make on laser printer/ your 3-D printer that’s protein.”

“So RNA, we need it, we have it, and it is designed to last a very short time. RNA is not important that it be absolutely perfect, in fact when it comes out it is more error-prone, and in our bodies that’s ok, we have a surveillance system in our cells to chop up and recycle the whole RNA if it is abnormal. Unfortunately for us, there are some viruses that use only RNA, that is the way they store their genetic information. That’s really important because it means those viruses are more likely to change or mutate every time that they reproduce. That’s a big deal because it means as these viruses change, our immune system has to keep up with them. Our vaccine technology needs to keep up with them, the testing that we do needs to keep up.”

“RNA is a one-way trip, it can’t go back to DNA….that’s one of the things I like about this technology, it will never touch your God-given blueprints of your DNA.”

“If it (Covid19) killed everybody it came in contact with, if everybody felt totally rotten, we would not be in this situation. People would take it so very seriously. Think about the Ebola virus disease. Ebola virus is another kind of RNA virus, quite different it’s called a Filovirus…. In some instances up to half of the people infected will die of it. It’s a very deadly disease… The reality is that the Ebola virus will never pose a threat because it kills so many of its patients. 

“For a virus to succeed, for it to propagate, for it to take root and to explode, from an evolutionary standpoint, it has to be something that people feel well enough with, that they will spread it to others.”

Paul Pottinger, M.D.

Recommended Resources:

Episode Transcript: 

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