In a special bonus episode of National Geographic’s podcast, "Overheard at National Geographic," host Peter Gwin speaks with structural biologist Rolf Hilgenfeld, who’s been researching coronaviruses since before the SARS outbreak. With over 23 years of experience in virology, Hilgenfeld built a molecule from scratch, an enzyme inhibitor, which could hold the key to slow down or even stop the spread of future coronaviruses. At the start of COVID-19, Hilgenfeld headed to China in an attempt to further his research, but when an interview was mistranslated, accompanied by a misleading headline about testing his compound in patients (rather than a petri dish), Hilgenfeld was deemed a hero for bringing a cure to China before his work could even come to fruition. This episode is all about the challenges of finding a treatment for coronaviruses and what that might mean for the future of COVID-19.
Listen to the full bonus episode of "Overheard at National Geographic" HERE.
If you’re interested in reading more of National Geographic’s coronavirus coverage, check out our digital hub that features an accompanying story on coronavirus experimental therapies, as well as updates on the pandemic, some unusual takes, and more.
National Geographic is also publishing a weekly coronavirus newsletter, which addresses new developments in the world’s effort to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic through our worldwide network of photographers and writers reporting out factual information. For more information on the newsletters, see HERE.
Rolf Hilgenfeld, Structural Biologist from University of Lübeck, is located in Hamburg, Germany.
Nsikan Akpan, National Geographic Science Editor, is located in Washington, D.C.
Anna Kukelhaus Dynan, Anna.Kukelhaus@natgeo.com, 202-912-6724
Kelsey Taylor, Kelsey.Taylor@natgeo.com, 202-912-6776