Inside the COVID-19 Vaccine Project

Published on
July 10th, 2020
58 minutes

Inside the COVID-19 Vaccine Project

The Interview ·
Featuring Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad

Published on: July 10th, 2020 • Duration: 58 minutes

Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Program at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, joins Ash Bennington to explain what the Department of Defense's coronavirus vaccine research project is doing to combat the pandemic. Dr. Modjarrad breaks down the different factors that have culminated to increase the difficulty of creating a vaccine. He shares details on the vaccine that his research group is creating with nanoparticles that bind to the virus itself. Finally, he answers questions like, "how long will vaccine deployment take?", "what effects do mutations have on the success of vaccines?", and "how does one protect themself from COVID-19?" from the perspective of an infectious disease doctor on the inside of the scientific effort to mitigate this deadly pandemic. Filmed on July 8, 2020.



  • JA
    Jordan A.
    20 July 2020 @ 02:48
    What a stand up guy. I've never seen or heard someone so knowledgeable and well spoken. He's like too good. I'm not sure if I trust him, but I really hope he is legit.
  • RV
    Ryan V.
    13 July 2020 @ 03:19
    There will never be a successful covid vaccine. Every single previous attempt at a coronavirus vaccine has failed. These will fail for the same reason. Only difference is we won’t know until millions are injected because we will skip the safety trials. Hard pass.
    • PE
      Paul E.
      13 July 2020 @ 17:26
      "It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so"
    • RV
      Ryan V.
      13 July 2020 @ 23:12
      That definitely applies to everyone who is sure there is going to be a vaccine. It’s considered a certainty by the market. This is actually going to go on for years.
    • KW
      K W.
      17 July 2020 @ 21:45
      We don’t know if antibodies work or how long they last he says. In fact we don’t even have a test for it....but apparently we have a number of vaccines nearly ready? Ridiculous
  • GH
    Galen H.
    15 July 2020 @ 14:56
    Excellent. Very good. Ash - I think they working you too hard there. Time for some sun.
  • FM
    Fabio M.
    15 July 2020 @ 03:26
    Best interview about coronavirus that I watched until now. Congratulations!
  • XF
    Xavier F.
    15 July 2020 @ 02:10
    great thank you !
  • DY
    Damian Y.
    14 July 2020 @ 05:22
    Great interview. It's a breath of fresh air to hear someone who actually knows what they are talking about with regards to the virus.
  • PS
    Patrick S.
    14 July 2020 @ 03:36
    Excellent questions from Ash
  • MS
    Marcus S.
    14 July 2020 @ 01:11
    Kudos! an excellent interview and one of the clearest and most factual, data-driven interviews on Covid 19 and the race to a vaccine that I have seen.
  • TP
    Tillman P.
    14 July 2020 @ 00:00
    Very good talk. However, maybe good to also have someone on like Dr Jacob Glanville who is developing therapeutic antibodies. They scale much better than convalescent serum and they could treat patients who are sick (unlike vaccines). These could change the environment in terms of preventing deaths much quicker than vaccine approaches (also seems more likely to me to be rapidly successful).
  • DO
    Daniel O.
    13 July 2020 @ 21:51
    Excellent questions.
  • PE
    Paul E.
    13 July 2020 @ 17:06
    This was great! I learned a lot, thanks!
  • MH
    Martin H.
    10 July 2020 @ 06:13
    Why do I have a deep mistrust of the vaccine for this one? I'm not an anti vaccine person but for some reason this one is setting off all my alarm bells. I can't explain it but the very idea has the hairs on the back on my neck standing up.
    • LS
      Lewis S.
      10 July 2020 @ 21:58
      You're not alone
    • RD
      Riki D.
      11 July 2020 @ 00:37
      I'd be very careful about the application of the correct satefy and efficacy protocols and their strict adherence - gold standard vaccine pass only. Double Blinded . Placebo . Randomised . Multi-Centre . Peer Review. There are a couple of CEO's who have put that aside and spruiking absolute nonsense regarding their vaccine candidate.... which causes significant financial damage to those who invest vast sums in their claims, but much worse, the distraction from the 'real' candidates and potentially the opportunity to save many more people.
    • DT
      David T.
      11 July 2020 @ 05:49
      This virus escaped from the Wuhan Lab. It wasn't intentional so, conspiracy theories do not add up. However, vaccine industry got on money chase game for sure.
    • JO
      Johnny O.
      13 July 2020 @ 11:26
      It may be because, faced with a rushed but potentially mandatory vaccine for a type of virus for which vaccines have not previously been successful, more people have finally done some research into vaccine damage, the research they neglected to do for their kids. Mystery adjuvants indeed. It may be because people have watched their health authorities repeatedly lie and change their tune throughout this pandemic. Masks not needed, masks good, masks mandatory. China exemplary, China was a bit slow, China lied. 2 million will die in the US, hospitals will collapse, stay at home, economic suicide. Can't surf alone, can crowd streets for BLM protests. Lying "experts", garbage hockey-stick "models", wildly excessive predictions of catastrophe. Sound familiar? Anyone who has watched the smear campaign against hydroxychloroquine has learned that in addition to fake news there is fake science. Meanwhile Remdesivir is this round's Tamiflu. Kayvon was doing OK until about 49 minutes in when he expressed devoted obeisance to the WHO and CDC and every vaccine ever recommended. The flu vaccine is poison. The WHO was a vaccine lobby from its very inception. The CDC was occupied with obesity and racism and screwed up the initial testing. The Surgeon General said forget masks. Neither vaccine damage nor the dangerous gain-of-function research that concocted this virus (which contains not just unbelievably-accelerated mutations but inserts) were mentioned. Other than that, Ash did a great job.
  • PJ
    Peter J.
    13 July 2020 @ 09:34
    A truly excellent interview, anybody not watching because it is not primarily finance based is missing out big in IMO.
  • SB
    Stewart B.
    13 July 2020 @ 09:33
    I really enjoyed this. I hope RV keeps on filming videos like this that are non-financial but give us technical detail on things that affect financial markets.
  • JD
    Jonathan D.
    13 July 2020 @ 04:55
    I do enjoy interviews like this as they are very informative, however they also highlight the severely myopic view that scientists and "experts" tend to have. They seem to willingly latch onto "THE data" with fanatical fervor without balancing that data against other fields of studies like economics, and law. Data regardless of how accurate it is, has no authority to violate my legal rights, nor can data create resources that don't exist. Kayvon kept a stone cold straight face as he floated the idea of governments bankrolling multi trillion dollar expenditures on creating products that may or may not ever be needed, and may or may not work if they are needed. He also said we "need contact get our society back". I have doubts a Virologist could balance a checkbook by hand, or successfully argue a legal case...just saying.
  • TB
    Tobin B.
    12 July 2020 @ 22:37
    Meh, this guy is too doctored up, well shaven, and looks like he's in a studio. I have to look at this with a certain degree of skepticism as I've been noticing an increased level of media manipulation. I'll take a speaker in a basement over a talking head in a studio any day. Thanks all the same for bringing this speaker on, but this Covid thing has been too hystericized for me. Gives me lots of long vol options though!
  • JD
    John D.
    12 July 2020 @ 19:04
    I'd say we need this guy on CNN, et al. but unfortunately, I don't think it would make much of difference. Most people find scientific, intellectual information to be anathema.
  • JJ
    John J.
    12 July 2020 @ 18:59
    I echo all the positive comments on Ash. You did a great job!
  • NL
    Nicholas L.
    12 July 2020 @ 03:30
    Fantastic conversation. Detailed and engaging. Please more of this content!
  • PC
    Peter C.
    12 July 2020 @ 02:36
    Ash, you conducted an exceptional interview. You were at your very best on this important complex subject with the best expert. Kudos to the RVTV Team.
  • JS
    Jon S.
    10 July 2020 @ 19:10
    This interview could be open for everyone it will help the whole humanity! I am a subscriber but would love that everyone not only people with interest in finance have access to this!
    • HM
      Harold M.
      10 July 2020 @ 20:14
      I very much agree with Jon
    • JS
      Jon S.
      10 July 2020 @ 23:03
      I agree with Jon too! I'm the other Jon S.
    • NT
      Norman T.
      11 July 2020 @ 17:41
      I likewise agree ... it is seldom that so complex a subject can be explained so simply. The simplest explanation is the most brilliant explanation. Most everyone would benefit from a Youtube publication of this interview.
    • DS
      David S.
      11 July 2020 @ 20:53
      RVTV put it on YouTube. DLS
    • PC
      Peter C.
      12 July 2020 @ 02:23
      RVTV is working to get this done asap
  • AJ
    Andrew J.
    10 July 2020 @ 16:11
    As an Infectious Diseases physician and a Clinical Virologist, this interview was spot on. I would strongly advocate that the video be made freely available to the public, as all academic medical journals currently make all of their SARS-CoV-2 articles available to the public and this type of information serves a very real Public Health service to those with ears to hear. Dr. Modjarrad does a really great job of discussing where the data gaps lie - and why the Public Health messaging can be so difficult. Public latches on to any uncertainty and contradiction and then throws the baby out with the bathwater. My only small quibbles are really just different clinical frames of reference: 1) In animals, we commonly see not just pulmonary/sinus disease, but also liver, gut, and brain involvement, so for these bat-derived viruses that are not yet well adapted to humans (SARS-CoV-1 and 2, MERS-CoV), I am not at all surprised to see the range of extra-pulmonary manifestations we are seeing, and I'm not sure we have looked at the "routine" human coronaviruses in enough detail to know how often they are responsible for strokes, Kawasaki Disease etc. 2) I think fomite transmission was a big deal on cruise ships initially - especially where passengers were touching the same railings in short intervals of time (and the fact that many of the Japanese officials touring the ship at the time got infected seems to have disappeared from the record). The reason I don't wash my milk, is because the virus just doesn't last that long on many surfaces, although plastics and steel are the worst. This is why shipping from China to US was never an issue - because by the time products reached the US, no chance of viable virus. 3) The aerosol/airborne debate has been raging for a long time. Same group of scientists that are proponents of airborne spread (as a routine mechanism of transmission) has been on about this for Influenza A and other respiratory viruses. They are correct, in that there is a range of sizes of small particles released when one sneezes, and some of these should go airborne as opposed to droplet (falling to the ground). The problem here, is that if we all decided to wear N95 masks, the world supply would be depleted in about 3 days, and we would all have to go back to routine surgical masks anyway, so while interesting, it's not really clinically relevant unless you are doing an aerosol generating procedure - and is consistent with the current WHO recommendations. Having said this, we have never really adequately explained the "super-spreader" phenomenon observed with these coronaviruses. When we had SARS in Canada in 2003, Toronto saw super-spreader events, and Vancouver did not. Not sure whether this is related to the patient (anatomic factors in the oropharynx that augment small particle formation in some people) or to the virus (we did see SARS-CoV-1 mutations in 2003 that improved the affinity of the spike protein for the human ACE2 receptor over time - similar to what Dr. Modjarrad was describing for SARS-CoV-2 - so what they are seeing in vitro is probably going to be a real thing. SARS-CoV-1 disappeared before this became a clinical issue, so we just don't know what it means yet). This was an excellent interview that distilled a complex area into layman's terms, and I gotta say, one of Ash's best moderations. As an American citizen, I sit on my perch from Canada and wonder how the US Public Health response can be so messed up. How ignorant does leadership (all parties) have to be to turn a Public Health crisis into a partisan political issue? Isn't there some evolutionary bent towards self-preservation? This only goes to show that the US needs radical institutional reform of the Federal Government if it is going to make anything more than an impotent response to a Public Health crisis. I have said since February that by the time the November election hits, every US citizen will have a dead extended family member, and mused about how that will play out at the polls. It is morbid and wholly preventable theatre, but I just can't look away.
    • RP
      Raoul P. | Founder
      10 July 2020 @ 17:47
      Amazing post. Thank you. I love the comments section of Real Vision when experts add their opinions. Much appreciated.
    • JS
      Jon S.
      10 July 2020 @ 19:12
      Can someone interview you on RV? This post should be partied the description of the video! Splendid!
    • DS
      David S.
      11 July 2020 @ 21:22
      Excellent comment. It is my opinion that some powerful/wealthy people in the US on both sides of the aisle are Economy first and People second. If enough workers survive to keep corporations going in the age of robots, let the virus clear out the weak and the disabled of all ages. The wealthy are protected from the virus by excellent medical coverage, high fences and big yards in at least one of their homes - like the French wealthy on the Riviera. In other countries with a better balance of community vs. the individual, the containment efforts are much better while hoping for a vaccine. Unfortunately, the US response of full speed ahead will markedly affect the rest of the world. This is also shown in poorer countries like in Brazil. If President Trump would have championed the fight against COVID-19, he would have won the 2020 election hands down. DLS
    • PC
      Peter C.
      12 July 2020 @ 02:13
      Raoul, please follow the advise of Andrew, a doctor & virologist (& indirectly of Dr Modjarrad) and share this interview publicly. It's the right thing to do. Besides, it will promote Real Vision TV well. Thank you.
    • PC
      Peter C.
      12 July 2020 @ 02:20
      Sorry Raoul, I read further in from Gabrielle that you / RVTV are working hard to get this on YouTube asap. Thank you for doing this.
  • DB
    David B.
    12 July 2020 @ 01:54
    Where has this guy been hiding? We need to see and more of him on the main-stream media and send Fauci to a desk in the basement with his red stapler.
  • JH
    Joseph H.
    11 July 2020 @ 21:54
    I learnt a lot, that was great. Thank you
  • GS
    Gunnar S.
    11 July 2020 @ 13:26
    Please get Judy Mikovits on for a contrarian view on this topic.
    • TP
      Terry P.
      11 July 2020 @ 18:14
      Please don’t, she’s a total quack and conspiracy theorist.
    • GS
      Gunnar S.
      11 July 2020 @ 19:06
      Judy Mikovits, PhD, spent twenty years at the National Cancer Institute, working with Dr. Frank Ruscetti, one of the founding fathers of human retrovirology, and has coauthored more than forty scientific papers. She co-founded and directed the first neuroimmune disease institute using a systems biology approach in 2006. She is a whistleblower and co auther of Plage of Corruption a New York Times bestseller. "One of the main problems of our time is the public loss of confidence in the scientific community because of a too often corrupt coalition of governmental and corporate entities. Judy Mikovits's and Kent Heckenlively's book delves into the midst of this rampant corruption, which hides from the public scientific truths which might go against these corporate economic interests." —Dr. Luc Montagnier, 2008 Nobel Laureate for the isolation of the HIV retrovirus "She is a total quack and conspiracy theorist." STEVEN D
    • DS
      David S.
      11 July 2020 @ 20:12
      A quote from the Wikipedia on Dr. Mikovits: Judy Anne Mikovits (born 1957 or 1958) is a former American research scientist[2][3][10][11][12] who is known for her discredited medical claims, such as that murine endogenous retroviruses are linked to chronic fatigue syndrome. She has been described as an anti-vaccination activist[12][13], a promoter of conspiracy theories, and has been accused of scientific misconduct.[6][7][8][9] She has made several false claims about vaccines, COVID-19, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), among other things.[14][10][11][15][16]" I did not look up the source material, but I suggest that RVTV vet Dr. Mikovits to see if she passes muster for RVTV. In addition, there are numerous YouTube presentations pro and con on Dr. Mikovits that are available to all. DLS
    • GS
      Gunnar S.
      11 July 2020 @ 21:09
      Its settled the vaccine producers is already chosen. The plandemic is a military operation.
  • DR
    Danilo R.
    10 July 2020 @ 21:14
    Great interview. The US ostrich approach to the pandemic, lack of coordination from States, and lack of adherence to either social distancing or mask wearing all but guarantees a nice little trillion dollar cottage industry of COVID vaccine manufacturing. Flatten the curve is a big lie. We need a constant flow of virus carriers and a nice population like Northern California Bay Area with only 5% infection rate for the vaccine to make money. Seriously, why would anyone make a vaccine that is a one time deal that works all the time. Riddle me this Batman, how do reconcile for-profit medicine, national health policy and the Hippocratic oath?
    • DS
      David S.
      11 July 2020 @ 20:52
      Herd immunity does not work if the immune response lasts for a short time. DLS
  • KV
    Kevin V.
    11 July 2020 @ 02:01
    I think it was a good interview and glad many smart people are working on a vaccine. But when I hear working with WHO and they are involved, I feel deflated. I listened to WHO full press conferences in February. It was the biggest slow motion train wreck I could ever imagined in my nightmares!. They said for 20 minutes how the CCP is doing great, Then 10 minutes of it’s contained, it’s a strong flu and other countries don’t have to stop interventional flights out of WUHAN!! After reading published infectious disease doctor papers from Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea in February (once they were treating SARS patients in their respective countries). it was clearly an airborne human to human SARS spreading virus. The whole organization is rotten, if they are leading anything, I won’t ever expect results for a very long time. That is unless China miraculously comes up with a vaccine and can manufacture To a safe human standard. It’s amazing how some countries still have any faith in them.
    • DS
      David S.
      11 July 2020 @ 20:49
      I agree that the WHO needs major improvements, but do not throw out the baby with the bathwater. After the dust settles, we need a WHO type organization. It may be best outside of the UN. It does need to have the ability to investigate anywhere there may be a problem. DLS
  • LG
    Lucas G.
    11 July 2020 @ 20:47
    Fantastic interview!! congratulations!!
  • PT
    Pete T.
    11 July 2020 @ 05:29
    Great interview outlining what a reductionist philosophy can do with their materialistic silver bullet approach to improving the health of the public. Where in the discussion did we hear anything about the requirements needed from the host response to garner a response to the antigen? Is it the "magic" in the vaccine derived from the laboratory "expertise", or the real and substantive MAGIC a healthy body provides to deal with these antigens that we should be talking about? When one person sneezes in a crowded elevator of 10 people and 2 of the ten get sick, we tend to forget about the 7 that didn't. What are they doing or not doing? Come on people, build vitalism and you will have less to worry about!
    • DS
      David S.
      11 July 2020 @ 20:41
      I would prefer not to be in that elevator. What would happen if you were in that elevator day after day while a different person with COVID-19 sneezed once a week in the same elevator? With the information available, you can decide how to protect yourself, your family and friends; or if any precautions are needed at all. DLS
  • JG
    Johan G.
    11 July 2020 @ 19:55
    Thanks for a very good and informative interview, Ash and Dr Modjarrad! I did some basic calculations: Now if the US has about 5 million confirmed cases by the end of July, which seems likely, and we use Modjarrads number of a multiplier of 5 ( he said 5-10) to get the real number of infected, we find that 25 million americans will be or have been infected by Covid 19 by the end of July. Presently about 70.000 are confirmed per day, and using the same math, that gives a number of 350.000 real infections per day. If we assume a constant rate of infections going forward, i.e. R0= 1, then every 100 days 35 million million get infected, 200 days gives 70 million. And looking at the data for the last 30 days, it seems more likely to accelerate than decelerate. So 200 days from now there will be at least 100 Million americans who already had the virus; perhaps 200 million if R0 is higher than 1 and the epidemic accelerates. That is the scenario in which a vaccine could appear at the earliest. I do not think a vaccine will turn out to be the holy grail for this epidemic in the US, but I keep my fingers crossed for a miracle! I fear that it will be the same story as before; to late to make an impact. Herd immunity could come before an effective vaccine.
    • DS
      David S.
      11 July 2020 @ 20:19
      If COVID-19 immunity last less than six months after recovery - not confirmed yet - a vaccine administered often may be the only way to get herd immunity. I hope this is not true, but it may be. It would be a good question for Dr. Modjarrad how short duration immunity vaccines might work. DLS
  • AT
    ALAN T.
    11 July 2020 @ 17:31
    Ash, you do a terrific job in your interviews.
    • DS
      David S.
      11 July 2020 @ 19:55
      I agree. Short direct questions to guide the interview - Hemingway would approve. When compound/complex questions are presented, even the interviewee is not sure how to answer. Normally the interviewer is trying to put his/her agenda on the table in the form of the question. There are certainly times for discussion format when the interviewer and the interviewee are on similar levels of competence. DLS
  • DS
    David S.
    11 July 2020 @ 19:39
    A perfect presentation on the most important issue of our time. Many, many thanks to Dr. Modjarrad, Mr. Bennington and RVTV. I suggested to friends to watch on YouTube and sent them the link. All were impressed and thankful with the quality of information and production. I would suggest updates as often as Dr. Modjarrad will allow to keep us informed as the science progresses. Thanks again to the whole RVTV team. DLS
  • pi
    peter i.
    11 July 2020 @ 15:05 convey something very esoteric to the wider community, this is a brilliant interview. Very clear and understandable explanations from Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad and superb interviewing from Ash. Gained a rich & clear understanding of the situation
  • PY
    Prathun Y.
    11 July 2020 @ 14:34
    Fantastic Interview! So very Informative, clear and precise explanations. Kudo’s to both of you.
  • AW
    Aaron W.
    11 July 2020 @ 13:00
    Excellent expert interview!
  • CT
    Chris T.
    10 July 2020 @ 09:37
    Agree with the commentator on the daily updates.. starting to sound like bed wetting karens on covid(s). Data analysis out of the window, emotion leading the way. Do we even need a vaccine? Data would say no. Can we now have interview with alternative view on covid. Perhaps someone from Oxford, UCL or Stanford who all have separate studies based on actual data (and not with vested interest in a vaccine) showing that the lockdown has no effect on fatality rate and puts the fatality rate of the virus at no worse than seasonal flu on countless data based studies. The virus burns itself out in multiple real world examples. Not "might be", not "may" not "could be", not "data in a dish" actual data from multiple countries which will decide if we even need a vaccine. Spoiler alert- they all say no. Even CDC have study suggesting 25 million in US have antibodies vs less than 135k dead (yes.. so far but that applies to both parts of that equation). UK studies of up to 26.8% of population have antibodies, UK govt had London at 17% in May vs 200 dead FROM covid in London. Numerator vs denominator. Then comp to seasonal flu fatality rate (thats with a vaccine already). The fatality rate of Sars vs covid 19 isnt even comparable. This interview is like someone coming on saying Ford stock should trade at $1 million, because they could sell cars to everyone. No data. No heres the numbers and data behind why we will even need a vaccine, viewers make your own mind up. If this was a trade, how would you weigh your probability: scenario a) Nobel prize winner, a scientist of the year, 3 of the most prestigious Universities all performing separate backwards looking studies finding same conclusions, no need for vaccine, extremely low fatality rate, no need for lockdown or scenario b) listen to the media hype or someone with vested interest in a vaccine projecting. They could be wrong, yes, but is it not worth having their view considered to broaden your inputs. for those open to finding out more from well respected sources- youtube has very good interviews with Karl Friston (previous scientist of yr, UCL) Michael Levitt (Noble prize winner, Standford) Dr John Ioannidis (Standford), Sunetra Gupta (Oxford and other colleagues). Would enjoy seeing any of them on here.
    • CT
      Chris T.
      11 July 2020 @ 09:56
      Seems it’s controversial to present outcomes from studies by Standford, Oxford and UCL ... 🤷🏻‍♂️ If you ever wanted an example of human emotion overtaking data in decision making its Covid 19. If anything, certainly shows that getting any of those scientists on would make for a good, hotly debated show
  • DT
    Dennie T.
    10 July 2020 @ 18:32
    Thank you for the informative interview. Two questions I would like answered are the following. The Dr. mentioned there are about a handful of other Corona viruses out there that have been around for decades and apparently are not as bad as the newest one we're all experiencing. Why is he confident we will find a vaccine for this one if, as far as I know, no vaccine is available for any of the other ones? This vaccine he and others are working on, is it going to be a one time deal (one shot and you're good) vaccine, or a yearly modified dose similar to the slightly modified yearly flu-shot?
    • GF
      Gordon F.
      11 July 2020 @ 02:38
      I am not a doctor, much less a virologist, but I am pretty sure the answer is not yet known. Even if/when we get a vaccine that seems to work, it will only be known with time how long it retains effectiveness. Of course, if Covid-19 fades away in a year or two, then it may not matter so much. The answer may also depend on whether the virus itself is really stable, or if new versions appear frequently that would require different vaccines to provide immunity. Again, questions that we don't have answers for yet.
    • SS
      Steven S.
      11 July 2020 @ 04:30
      I didn't get the sense that he was all that confident in an effective vaccine. Some of the preliminary data looks ok, but we don't have good data on efficacy yet. To expand on Gordon's point, influenza has a higher mutation rate, and, more importantly, influenza has multiple chromosomes and undergoes reassortment (that is, can quickly form different combinations of the two genes that our immune system recognizes), thereby necessitating an annual vaccine (against multiple strains). SARS-CoV-2 may undergo some low rate of recombination, but it is likely the main driver of immune system avoidance by the virus is mutation in the spike protein-encoding gene. As an RNA virus, the mutation rate is probably inflated over DNA viruses, but may not be very high (as Dr. Modjarrad stated). On a different point, I was extremely pleased to hear Dr. Modjarrad's call for continued research in virology and vaccine development to aid in preparation for the next pandemic (which will undoubtedly happen).
  • SS
    Steven S.
    11 July 2020 @ 04:03
    Excellent interview and, as COVID is a major determinant of economics and the financial system, I'm delighted to see RV take an interest in the biology and medicine surrounding this issue. Dr. Modjarrad did an exceptional job in elucidating the basics of vaccine development, SARS-CoV-2 virology, and some of the epidemiology in an accessible manner. I was likewise impressed with how he eloquently conveyed the practice and principles of science. Many thanks!
    • SS
      Steven S.
      11 July 2020 @ 04:18
      seeing some skeptical comments in this section, I just wanted to add that what Dr. Modjarrad has said is spot on. I really couldn't criticize anything that he said. I'm a professor at a medical school who does molecular-based research on disease.
  • AG
    Anthony G.
    10 July 2020 @ 14:57
    Excellent presentation but you missed the opportunity to drill into the mortality rate. Is it 5 or 10 times more deadly than influenza? What does the current data show? If extrapolated globally what is the expected mortality rate?
    • CT
      Chris T.
      10 July 2020 @ 15:45
      The COVID-19 death risk in people <65 years old during the period of fatalities from the epidemic was equivalent to the death risk from driving between 13 and 101 miles per day for 11 countries and 6 states, and was higher (equivalent to the death risk from driving 143-668 miles per day) for 6 other states and the UK. Standford study:
    • SS
      Steven S.
      11 July 2020 @ 04:15
      Until we have highly accurate and widespread serology testing and highly accurate medical reporting of COVID-19 deaths, the mortality rate will be difficult to estimate. That said, my reading of the best literature seems to be in the 3-20x mortality rate of seasonal influenza rate. The rate varies with a multitude of factors including treatment, age, sex, ethnicity, comorbidities, androgen levels, and two genetic loci (chr3p21.31 and ABO locus). Viral genotype might also have an effect on mortality rate, but we don't know yet.
  • TM
    Troy M.
    11 July 2020 @ 02:19
    This was fantastic! Thank you for this
  • BS
    Bevyn S.
    11 July 2020 @ 01:08
    This interview gives me so much faith in humans.
  • CB
    Chris B.
    11 July 2020 @ 00:30
    Outstanding. RV thanks for getting Dr. Modjarrad, on the show and great interview by Ash with a very smart and well spoken expert.
  • RY
    Roger Y.
    10 July 2020 @ 19:59
    The flow and quality of Ash's questions were excellent as were the clear and unbiased answers from Dr. Modjarrad.
    • AB
      Ash B. | Real Vision
      10 July 2020 @ 21:36
      Thanks, Roger. Much appreciated.
  • GS
    10 July 2020 @ 20:01
    An absolutely riveting interview, Ash. Job well done. I recommend making this freely available on Youtube.
  • aa
    asasd a.
    10 July 2020 @ 11:16
    This is a very good general outline of how vaccine development works and the immense hurdles these efforts face. I work in the industry and public rarely gets a clear explanation of what goes with vaccine trials. Just my personal opinion, but making this video free on your YouTube outlet would be of educational value to the masses. Fingers crossed that RV releases this sooner than later.
    • GH
      Gabrielle H. | Real Vision
      10 July 2020 @ 19:04
      We are actually preparing this for free release on YouTube channel today - we recognize how important and timely this information is for the general public, and we echo your sentiment on this needing to go out sooner rather than later!
  • WG
    Wade G.
    10 July 2020 @ 19:00
    Good interview and very clear guest, thanks for some basics on this virus and efforts undertaken to understand it and develop a vaccine. Watching this reinforces the complexity of the world we live in and underscores how people broadly rely upon the knowledge, creativity, and competence of specialists among us. God's speed Dr. Modjarrad.
  • RA
    Robert A.
    10 July 2020 @ 17:55
    Great job Ash and vintage RV at it’s finest. I’ve always said that the RV secret sauce is it’s “Curation” which may be under appreciated as well as the thoughtful comments section from the RV community. Came for the Macro economics and stayed for the Health curation. Where else could I have access to an expert of this caliber being thoughtfully interviewed by an extremely competent interviewer on a subject important to my family. The one question I had repeatedly throughout the interview is this—with several vaccines coming to fruition how do I know which one my family should avail themselves of....the first one, the second, the one with the most hype and promotional push behind it, the one I’m told to take by my government?.....should we wait to see how the first one turns out and is there a danger by taking multiple vaccines? To me, this seems to be the next important decision for all of us to make.
  • DO
    DIOGO O.
    10 July 2020 @ 11:12
    Nice interview. Very forward looking guy, liked very much. However, one must look at the data from other countries and their experiences of the virus. In that regard I would like to see alternative views of this...people that are studying the coutries response to the outbreak. All of that analysis mus be done in a ''DEATH PER MILLION'' basis, otherwise one cannot compare countries. I'll illustrate that: 1) Taiwan and South Korea: High sucess cases, very technology intensive responses, apps for contact tracying etc. Very good control of the outbreak. ok, I get it. 2) Japan and Vietnam. Mask usage universal, avoidance of crowds, the basics (as we would say in Brazil: ''just plain rice and beans, nothing more''). NO LOCKDOWNS. And yet, there case numbers, and death numbers ares ridicously lows! That ''social experiment'' would highly suggest that masks and avoinding crowds in general are highly effective at ''flattening the curve'' and keeping up with normal life. 3) Sweden x Gemany discussion. I would like to hear someone talk that through. My main point is that there are MANY OPEN SOCIAL EXPERIMENTS happening at the different countries...can't we learn anything from that?? Cheers
    • CT
      Chris T.
      10 July 2020 @ 13:27
      Youtube Michael Levitt, he covers some of these questions and Unherd interview with Karl Friston covers the Germany angle as for Japan and the mask theory- it falters somewhat when you look at Japans last flu season, 2019, 1.24m Japanese caught flu, their highest on record and yes they would have been wearing masks then. Swings back to what the two above scientists put fwd- its genetic makeup and other factors such as humidity (meat factories) that impact the level of virus spread and fatalities in a country or population.
    • AJ
      Andrew J.
      10 July 2020 @ 16:28
      People forget that the "successful countries" all had SARS in 2003, and have annual pandemic preparedness exercises, and the citizenry act cohesively (apps on their phones, routine mask wearing, obedience to Public Health texts instructing the entire population on a course of action etc.). And almost all of these countries have had flare-ups after initial control (except, perhaps Taiwan). But the point is that without that initial control, contact tracing doesn't work. For instance, contact tracing in the southern US at this point is futile. Reopening in the south occurred long before there was any semblance of control. What did they expect? Seriously. The "successful countries" all have effective contact tracing in their toolbox and use it effectively in the setting of virus control in the larger population. If you can get to that point, you can avoid the large general lockdowns and just play whack-a-mole.
  • PJ
    Paul J.
    10 July 2020 @ 16:00
    Dr. Modjarrad keeps talking about how coronaviruses jump from animals to humans--which is true. However, he fails to mention all the lab research being done on gain-of-function which makes these viruses more transmittable. In fact, many reputable doctors and researchers in the field are convinced that the reason SARS-COV-2 is so infectious is because it's been lab-modified in gain-of-function experiments. All emphasis in this interview appears to be on vaccines and not much about the originals of Covid19.
    • AJ
      Andrew J.
      10 July 2020 @ 16:16
      I am in the field, and I've seen no published sequence data to suggest that this virus has been weaponized. If the facts change, I'll change my mind on this. Viral RNA polymerases make mistakes when they copy the RNA genome and unlike DNA polymerases, they lack the ability to proofread the copy, or to fix mistakes. If the mutations improve viral fitness, they usually persist. If not, they don't. Mutations occur in all areas of an RNA genome, except for the RNA polymerase, because if you mess with the RNA polymerase, you usually don't get viable viral progeny. Point being, you don't need a consipiracy theory to get to where we are.
  • ja
    john a.
    10 July 2020 @ 14:18
    Finally some expert information on this disease without all the hype in other channels. Thanks so much for developing this content.
    • AB
      Ash B. | Real Vision
      10 July 2020 @ 14:37
      Thanks, John. We were excited to bring this one to the platform.
  • MJ
    Marc J.
    10 July 2020 @ 13:13
    Hmm, so vaccine early next year if trials work and don't cause any bad side effects, for a virus that has never before had a vaccine. He is more hopeful than I am. Not to take anything away though, great, very informative interview.
  • KC
    Kirk C.
    10 July 2020 @ 13:04
    Is he advocating for the insane 'gain of function' research that created covid???