Useful Idiots: COVID-19 With Virologist Dr. Christian Bréchot

In our latest quarantine episode of Rolling Stone‘s Useful Idiots podcast, hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper are joined by leading virologist Dr. Christian Bréchot. They discuss the origins of COVID-19, how the virology and wider scientific communities are working together for solutions, how a vaccine may get developed and why he doesn’t expect one any time soon.

Katie and Matt respond to another update on Senator Kelly Loefller’s ties with the New York Stock Exchange. Senator Loeffler’s husband, Jeffrey C. Sprecher, is chairman of the NYSE, and she had (along with other senators) allegedly panic-sold stocks after being briefed on the coronavirus. It now has come to light that Senator Loeffler was gifted $9 million by Intercontinental Exchange, NYSE’s parent company, when she left to join Congress.

“That looks pretty bad. NYSE gives $9 million to Senator who votes for rescue package that helps the NYSE. I mean, that’s about as clear cut as that sort of payola politics gets,” says Matt. “They’re paying it forward,” jokes Halper.

Taibbi is flabbergasted, confused, and triggered by the meaning of Elon Musk and Grimes’s child’s name, X Æ A-12, and the duo ponder what childhood will be like.



Katie and Matt also break down the botched coup in Venezuela, or what Katie calls the “Bay of Pigs 2.0,” and the role of Silvercorp USA, an American private security company led by Canadian-born, ex-Green Beret, Alexander the Great fanatic Justin Goudreau. They go on to discuss Airsoft rifles and Rambo.

Katie and Matt speak with virologist Dr. Christian Bréchot, who among other things is the president of the Global Virus Network, a network of research centers around the world with a mission of fighting against viruses, with a current focus on COVID-19.

Katie asks Dr. Bréchot if he thinks of COVID-19 as an analytical being, to which he replies, “Yes, sometimes.”

The trio discusses the development of a vaccine, and the timeline in which the global scientific community may be able to develop one. “I really hope I’m wrong. But if I have to express my opinion: I hardly believe that we could have the vaccine before summer 2021, end of 2021,” says Dr. Bréchot.

They discuss social distancing, and how it can be enforced in different counties, from South Korea to France. “In general, I would go for obligatory,” Bréchot says. “I believe that’s the only way.”

You can find the Useful Idiots podcast on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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