Useful Idiots: Matt Taibbi, Katie Halper With Dr. Robert Gallo - Rolling Stone
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Useful Idiots: Dr. Robert Gallo on a COVID-19 Vaccine

Plus, hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper also discuss Democrats’ strategy and caution against overconfidence heading into the 2020 presidential election

In this week’s quarantine episode of our Useful Idiots podcast, hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper are joined by biomedical researcher Dr. Robert Gallo to discuss the potential for a COVID-19 vaccine.

For the Four Food Groups, Matt provides a couple of examples of Dems bein’ Dems (since he couldn’t just pick one). First, the Democratic National Committee’s Platform Committee rejected Medicare for All. And second, House Democrats — in significant numbers — voting against a bill to reduce Pentagon spending.

Katie continues her laser focus on shark coverage, this week decrying what she calls “Sharkaganda” from Australia, in which a woman who was attacked by a shark still “loves sharks.”

“This hijacks what should be a very powerful anti-shark story, and turns it into pro-shark propaganda,” says Katie.

Our hosts also discuss the Democratic strategy (or possible lack thereof) going into the final stretch of the presidential campaign. “It feels to me like clarity of message is going to once again be lacking, heading towards November, which may not matter. But it is a thing. Again,” says Matt, who worries the party and media may be overconfident again.

“[Democrats] are just running on not being Trump, and they are doing whatever they can do to not be at all responsive to what the people want,” says Katie.

Dr. Robert Gallo, director of the Institute for Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, joins the show to give his take on the prospects for an effective COVID-19 vaccine. Gallo is skeptical of the approach many organizations are taking with antibody vaccines, citing the similarly low efficacy those treatments had with HIV due to the low durability of the antibodies. Dr. Gallo’s research is mainly related to Oral Polio Vaccine, which he thinks needs to be tested more in regard to innate immunity.

Gallo also worries about the shortcomings of the global response to the coronavirus. “Everybody has to be together in it. For god’s sakes,” says Dr. Gallo. “This is something that you can’t have one country doing one thing, one country another, there has t be a coordination. U.S. has to get along with China. There is no choice.”


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