New livestream series on YouTube “The UW Now” premiers 3/31 7pm CDT with Dr. Nasia Safdar of UW Hospitals

For March 31 / April 1, 2020

Please share this update on “The UW Now” series premier 3/31 with your friends & neighbors.

Hi WN@TL Fans,

There’s at least one big simple thing that’s different between the 1918-1919 flu pandemic and the 2019-2020 covid pandemic:

We have tests.

We have RNA-based tests to detect the coronavirus in people.

We have serological tests to detect in blood the antibodies that infected people make against the virus.

Because we have these tests, today we can ask and answer theses questions:

Are you now infected (even if you’re not showing symptoms)?

Have you been infected (even if you never got sick)?

Such tests are great weapons for physicians who are in charge of infection control at clinics and hospitals.  The tests are a kind of night-vision goggles that help docs & epidemiologists envision patterns of spread they otherwise couldn’t easily see.

In contrast, folks in 1918 were much more in the dark about the spread of the flu—they had only the patterns provided by noting and mapping the sick and the dead. They didn’t even know what caused the flu, and of course they had no clinical assays for the virus.

While we won’t have Wednesday Nite @ The Lab for many more weeks, in the meantime there’s something new to offer you:

Tuesday night March 31 at 7:00 CDT the Wisconsin Alumni Association is launching the livestream series entitled “The UW Now.”  The premier features Dr. Nasia Safdar of the School of Medicine & Public Health, who is also Medical Director of Infection Control at UW Hospital and Clinics.

I’m guessing the coronavirus will be the lead topic.

You can watch it live at

You can also watch Dr. Safdar’s 2012 presentation on Clostridium difficile to Wednesday Nite @ The Lab online at the University Place archives of PBS Wisconsin.

Hope to see you sometime soon once we can resume Wednesday Nite @ The Lab.

Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Division of Extension, Wisconsin 4-H



UW-Madison:  5.8 million owners, one pretty good public land-grant teaching, research and extension university.

Visit UW-Madison’s science outreach portal at for information on the people, places & programs on campus that welcome you to come experience science as exploring the unknown, all year round.

Here are the components of the WN@TL User’s Guide:

  1. The live WN@TL seminar, every Wednesday night, 50 times a year, at 7pm CT (on hiatus as of March 11, 2020)
  2. The live web stream at on hiatus)
  3. The WN@TL YouTubechannel
  4. WN@TL on the University Placebroadcast channel of PBS Wisconsin
  5. WN@TL on the University Place website

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