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The Peter Attia Drive

Jun 15, 2020

In this episode, David Watkins, professor of pathology at George Washington University, shares how insights from his HIV and Zika virus research could apply to SARS-CoV-2 protection strategies. David introduces monoclonal antibodies as an intervention to prevent and treat COVID-19 infection, and also discusses how they could be used as a hedge to vaccine development. Additionally, David’s immunology tutorial explains the innate and adaptive immune systems and their differentiated responses to viral infection.


We discuss:

  • Background and current interest in immunology [4:30];
  • Immunology 101—The innate and adaptive immune system [10:15];
  • Defining antibodies, importance of neutralizing antibodies, and serology testing for COVID-19 [19:00];
  • B cells—How they fight viruses, create antibodies, and fit into the vaccine strategy [25:00];
  • T cells—Role in the adaptive immune system and ability to kill infected cells to prevent viral spread [36:15];
  • Valuable lessons from HIV applied to SARS-CoV-2 [51:00];
  • Lessons taken from the hepatitis C success story [1:01:30];
  • Monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, and the most promising strategies for preventing and treating COVID-19 infection [1:04:45];
  • COVID-19 vaccines in development [1:19:00];
  • How David’s work with Zika virus informs his thinking on SARS-CoV-2 [1:25:20];
  • Why a vaccine for COVID-19 doesn’t need to be perfect to be effective [1:27:45]; and
  • More.

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