What’s Next – a Virologist Talks about Covid

Sergey is an eminent American (Russian by birth) scientist. He was on my Kensington Walk in mid-December (2021). I was fortunate enough to get into a series of conversations with him (between two or three of the stops on the walk). And Eureka! What an interesting guy. What a fascinating tale. Anyway, one thing led to another. I emailed Sergey when I got home – asked him if he’d let me interview him for the London Walks podcast and hey presto here we are.

I learned so much from Sergey (and so enjoyed our conversation). Fascinated to hear that he sees the United States as “many countries [completely understand that his wife has never forgiven him for moving them from San Diego to Chicago and subsequently New York and Boston].” Had no idea that Boston is “the pharmaceutical capital of the United States.” And a huge bonus for me – I learned that there’s a Curling rink at King’s Cross in London. We say this over and over again – we learn so much from our walkers, including stuff about the city we guide.

But the main course – and what a wonderful main course – was what Sergey had to say about Covid and viruses and what science has achieved and where we are now with all of that and what the road ahead looks like. Not to put too fine a point on it, Sergey educated me. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much light shone in on a subject over the course of a 40-minute chat. Hand on heart, I’m profoundly grateful. So huge thanks, Sergey.

I was going to put this podcast up early in the New Year but thinking about it, it struck me that these 40 minutes are the best possible Christmas present we can give to the London Walks community. What Sergey has to say about the virus is so heartening, so encouraging, so hopeful. It cheered me up no end. And I thought, “wait until January, fuhgeddit, I’m putting this up as our Christmas week podcast. This is a wonderful Christmas present for London Walkers.” So here it is.

A FEW QUOTES (Sergey is eminently quotable)

“viruses see us as very convenient real estate”

“you’re going to a different planet altogether”

“Covid is deeply unhappy right now”

“killing the host doesn’t really benefit you that much”

“most viruses live in the ocean”

“if there weren’t viruses humans wouldn’t be able to survive”

“every spoonful of sea water has trillions of viruses”

“it’s easier for us to react towards Covid”

“influenza mutates must faster than Covid does”

“revolutionary new approach to the development of vaccines”

“it took eight to nine months to develop the vaccine”

“the new vaccine can be completed and manufactured in three to four months”

“the way science works is that one area of science is invigorating another”

“so many remarkable discoveries”

“the Covid vaccine began life as an anti-cancer vaccine”

“a density of the virus per square foot”

“it’s very difficult for the virus not to be blown away – the density of the virus is what matters”

“go on London Walks if possible”

“our immune system overreacts”

“viruses are transmitted by different ways”

“it was an extraordinary set of people that I met there and got to work with”


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