Incubation

Incubation

Incubation is a new podcast that traces the history of humanity through viruses. We’ve all seen how the SARS CoV2 pandemic changed just about everything — from family life to work to politics –– but that’s just the latest installment in a long line of virus shake-ups. Other viruses –– influenza, HPV, smallpox, RSV –– have dramatically changed or endangered life as we know it. In many cases, scientists have been able to change the odds in favor of humanity. But deadly viruses persist — and containing them remains a scientific and technological challenge that each successive generation must take on. Author and What’s Your Problem host Jacob Goldstein takes us on a journey with leading medical researchers, doctors and historians to trace key moments in our battles with viruses, breakthroughs in vaccine research, and the impact of vaccination campaigns. These stories will help us better understand the evolutionary contest between humans and viruses, and how vaccines and new technologies are changing the score. Incubation drops weekly on Thursdays starting September 7.

Episodes

October 26, 2023 30 mins

Can bacteriophages help us in the fight against antibiotic-resistant infections? Author Tom Ireland joins the show to discuss the fascinating world of bacteriophages, also known as phages – viruses that attack bacteria.. Then, Ben Chan, a researcher with a fridge full of phages, tells the story of what it was like putting them to use in a high-stakes case.

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Why do we all know so little about the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), despite the fact that herpes infections are common and chronic? First, we get some Herpes 101 from researcher Anna Wald. Then, we speak with Ella Dawson, a sex and culture critic who is one of the billions of people living with HSV–1.

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October 12, 2023 27 mins

What can the mythical jackalope teach us about HPV? Author Michael Branch tells the story of how scientists first discovered horned rabbits, and how their findings paved the way for the study of all different kinds of papilloma viruses. Then, Elena Conis joins the shows to discuss the rollout of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine in the US and Americans’ complicated relationship with vaccine mandates.

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October 5, 2023 27 mins

What risk does H5N1 pose to humans? We hear from David Quammen, author of “Spillover,” about the vast and complicated interplay between influenza, the environment, animals, and humans. Then, molecular virologist Wendy Puryear helps us understand why seals on a remote island can be an early warning system.

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September 28, 2023 29 mins

What do we know – and not know – about the suite of viral infections known as “the common cold”? We speak with curator Katie Dabin about the UK’s Common Cold Unit, where volunteers signed up over the course of decades to get infected with colds. Then we enlist top virologist Gary McLean for some advice on what we can do to help ourselves feel better.

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September 21, 2023 23 mins

What is ‘structure-based’ vaccine design? Before scientists used these techniques to design vaccines against Covid, they were testing them in the lab to combat RSV. Keren Landman joins the show to talk about how this respiratory virus endangers the lives of babies and the elderly. Then, we hear about an early RSV vaccine trial that cast a shadow over modern research, and how scientists, including our guests Jason McLellan and Barne...

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September 14, 2023 27 mins

Why has polio been so challenging to eradicate? Karen Torghele tells the story of two polio vaccines and the two rival scientists who developed them: Albert Sabin and Jonas Salk. Then, Dr. Ananda S Bandyopadhyay explains our best bet for eliminating the disease worldwide.

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September 7, 2023 26 mins

What can we learn from the centuries-long quest to eradicate smallpox, once the scourge of humanity? And how did it set the stage for all vaccines to come? First we meet Edward Jenner, a doctor in 18th century Britain who learned about the folk practice of “variolation” and found a safer way to inoculate people against smallpox. Then, Donald Hopkins of the Carter Center takes us back to the 1960s in Sierra Leone, where he discovere...

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August 31, 2023 1 min

A new podcast that traces the history of humanity through viruses. New episodes weekly starting September 7.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

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