Nathan Wolfe

  • Aired:  11/03/11
  •  | Views: 14,283

Dr. Nathan Wolfe discusses the emergence of new viruses and their potential effect on people around the world. (5:45)

>> Stephen: THANK YOU VERY

MUCH, WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT, HAS SPENT

A CAREER INVESTIGATING THE

WORLD'S MOST DEADLY VIRUS.

TO PREPARE FOR THIS

INTERVIEW I PUT ON A CONDOM.

PLEASE WELCOME NATHAN WOLFE.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

DR. WOLFE, YOU DON'T HAVE TO

GET UP FOR ME.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

VERY NICE.

ALL RIGHT, SIR, YOU ARE A

MICROBIOLOGIST, A PROFESSOR

OF HUMAN BIOLOGY AT

STANDFORD.

SO YOU ARE A SMARTY PANTS,

ALSO THE FOUNDER AND C.E.O.

OF GLOBAL VIRAL FORECASTING.

AN INDEPENDENT RESEARCH

INSTITUTE DEVOTED TO EARLY

DETECTION OF LIKE PANDEMIC,

RIGHT.

>> EXACTLY.

>> Stephen: OKAY, YOU'VE GOT

A BOOK HERE.

IT'S CALLED THE VIRAL STORM,

THE DAWN OF A NEW PANDEMIC

AGE.

WHY DON'T YOU FLAME IT

SOMETHING A LITTLE MORE

ALARMIST.

LIKE DISEASE KILL ZONE.

A VIRUS WILL TURN YOUR BLOOD

TO DUST BEFORE THE END OF

THIS SENTENCE.

SO WHERE DO YOU GET WHERE

DOW RESEARCH THESE VIRUSES.

HOW DO YOU COLLECT THEM?

>> YEAH, I MEAN SO, ONE OF

THE WAYS TO THINK ABOUT WHAT

WE DO IS CREATING MUSEUMS OF

VIRUS AND BLOOD.

>> Stephen: KIDS, WE'RE

GOING TO THE VIRUS MUSEUM.

OKAY, YES.

YOU ARE A MUSEUM OF GERMS

AND BLOOD.

>> YEAH.

THAT'S US.

>> Stephen: BUT HOW DO YOU

GET THEM.

>> SO WE ARE POSITIONED IN,

ALONG WITH COLLEAGUES IN 20

COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD.

>> Stephen: WHAT COUNTRIES

WHAT ARE THE BIG DISEASE

COUNTRIES.

>> WELL, IT'S INTERESTING.

WE TEND TO WORK IN PLACES

THAT ARE SORT OF HOT SPOTS

OF DIVERSITY BECAUSE THOSE

MOST OF THESE VIRUSES COME

FROM ANIMALS.

SO THE MORE DIVERSITY OF

ANIMALS YOU V THE MORE

DIVERSITY OF VIRUSES THAT

CAN JUMP INTO US AS PEOPLE.

>> Stephen: WHY DON'T WE GET

RID OF THE ANIMALS.

ATTACK THIS AT THE ROOT.

>> WELL, HERE'S THE OTHER

THING.

WE UNDERSTAND SO LITTLE

ABOUT THE WORLD OF MICROBES

AND MANY OF THESE THINGS ARE

VERY USEFUL.

FOR EXAMPLE A VIRUS THAT

CAME FROM COW, COW POX ENDED

UP BEING THE VIRUS THAT

ALLOWED US TO HE RAD CAT

SMALL POX SO THERE ARE

VIRUSES OUT THERE THAT ARE

LIKELY TO BE USEFUL.

>> Stephen: WE HAVE LIVE

VIRUSES IN OUR YOGURT.

>> THERE YOU GO.

>> Stephen: DO WE?

>> WE ABSOLUTELY DO, YEAH.

>> Stephen: I PULLED THAT

OUT OF MY ASS.

(LAUGHTER)

>> TALK ABOUT THE SOMEONES

THAT SCARE ITS HELL OUT OF

ME.

>> EBOLA.

>> FOR A WHILE BACK THERE WE

HEARD ABOUT EBOLA JUMPING

FROM MONKEYS TO HUMANS,

OKAY.

AND THEN A HUMAN WAS GOING

TO GET ON A PLANE, COME TO

AMERICA AND WE'RE ALL GOING

TO BE DEAD IN LIKE 72 HOURS.

I'VE SEEN THOSE MOVIES.

>> IF I HAD EBOLA, YOU KNOW,

WHAT, HOW WOULD I KNOW?

>> YEAH, I MEAN EBOLA IS A

VIRUS THAT LEADS TO VERY,

VERY SPECIFIC CLINICAL

SYMPTOMS.

>> Stephen: SUCH AS.

>> YOU HAVE BLOOD IN YOUR

VOMIT, YOU HAVE BLOOD IN

YOUR DIARRHEA.

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT

REALLY HAS AN INCREDIBLY

PROFOUND CLINICAL

PRESENTATION.

AND-- .

>> Stephen: IT'S ALWAYS KIND

OF A BAD SIGN WHEN YOU HAVE

BLOOD IN YOUR VOMIT THOUGH,

RIGHT?

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: NO NEED TO TELL

ME ABOUT EBOLA FOR THAT.

>> YEAH, NO, THAT'S VERY

TRUE.

AND ONE OF THE INTERESTING

THING ISS WE JUST REPORTED

ON IDENTIFYING SOME

COMPLETELY NOVELL VARIANTS

OF EBOLA THAT WE FOUND IN AN

OUTBREAK THAT WE

INVESTIGATED WITH COLLEAGUES

IN CONGO.

>> Stephen: NOVELL DOES THAT

MEAN GOOD OR BAD.

>> IT MEANS COMPLETELY NEW

AND WHAT IT REALLY MEANS IS

THERE ARE THINGS OUT THERE

THAT WE ARE STILL UNAWARE

OF.

AND THERE WILL BE OTHER

THINGS THAT WILL BE

EFFECTIVELY EBOLA 2.0, NEW

VIRUSES THAT WILL AFFECT

NEWS WAYS THAT WE HAVEN'T

BEEN AFFECTED IN THE PAST

AND WILL REALLY HAVE THE

POTENTIAL TO DISRUPT THINGS

MASSIVELY, POTENTIALLY DUE

HUGE HARM TO HUMANS LIKE HIV,

LIKE INFLUENZA VIRUSES HAVE

DONE IN THE PAST.

>> Stephen: WHEN MY MOM WAS

A KID, SHE IS 91.

WHEN MY MOM WAS A KID EVERY

SUMMER AT THE END OF THE

SUMMER, THEY WOULD KIND OF

WAIT FOR THE NEWS AS TO

WHETHER POLIO WAS AROUND

AGAIN.

AND SOMETIME THESE WOULD GO

TO SCHOOL LATE BECAUSE THEY

DIDN'T WANT TO BE WITH OTHER

KIDS.

IS THERE SOMETHING LIKE THAT,

COULD THAT HAPPEN AGAIN

WHERE EVERY YEAR FOR 50

YEARS WE'RE NOT SURE WHETHER

THE THING IS GOING TO SPRING

UP AND JUST START KILLING

PEOPLE LEFT AND RIGHT?

>> WE LIVE IN A PROFOUNDLY

DIFFERENT WORLD THAN WE HAVE

LIVED IN.

EVEN IF YOU GO BACK 30, 50

YEARS AGO.

WE LIVED IN TOWNS, VILLAGES.

WE WEREN'T CONNECTED TO EACH

OTHER.

NOW IF YOU LOOK AT AIRPLANE

ROUTES AND THE WAY WE MOVE

BOATS AND ANIMALS AROUND,

WE'RE THIS SORT OF LARGE

MIXING VESSEL OF

MICROORGANISMS AND IT MEANS

THAT A VIRUS THAT POPS OUT

OF CENTRAL AFRICA OR

SOUTHEAST ASIA HAS OT

POTENTIAL TO GET TO HERE IN

NEW YORK OR TOKYO IN A

MATTER OF DAYS.

AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE

SHOULD ALL BE VERY, VERY

CONCERNED ABOUT AND TAKE

SERIOUSLY.

>> Stephen: IF YOU DISCOVER

THE NEXT DEADLY VIRUS, CAN

YOU NAME IT AFTER YOURSELF?

BECAUSE WOLFE FLU, THAT'S

NOT BAD.

>> I MEAN LOOK,.

>> Stephen: YES OR NO,

SENATOR.

(LAUGHTER)

>> WELL, WE DO NEED-- .

>> Stephen: YES OR NO.

>> WE DO, WE ABSOLUTELY DO.

WE NAME THEM.

>> Stephen: DOW.

COULD I, COULD SOMEONE DIE

OF WOLFE FEVER.

>> VERY POSSIBLY.

BUT WE'RE NOT GOING NAME IT

AFTER ME.

WE'RE GOING TO NAME IT AFTER

USUALLY SORT OF A LOCATION

THAT WE WORK IN OR SOMETHING

THAT'S MEANINGFUL ABOUT THE

VIRUS, THAT GIVES US

INFORMATION ABOUT IT.

>> Stephen: WHEN YOU FIRST

CAME OUT HERE I SHOOK YOUR

HAND.

(LAUGHTER)

IS THIS-- IS THIS DOES THIS

HELP ME IN ANY WAY.

DID I JUST DO ANYTHING OR IS

THIS JUST SORT OF WISHFUL

THINKING.

>> OH, NO, YOU ABSOLUTELY

DID.

USING ALCOHOL BASED HAND

SANITYIZERS WILL DEFINITELY

LIKE DESTROY BACTERIA AND A

NUMBER OF DIFFERENT VIRUSES,

SO ABSOLUTELY.

>> Stephen: THEN I'M WILLING

TO SHAKE YOUR HAND AGAIN.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

>> THERE YOU GO.

>> Stephen: NATHAN WOLFE,

THE BOOK IS THE VIRAL STORM.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)