Our Best Hope For A Vaccine: Two Recently-Divorced Virologists Who “Swore They’d Never Do This Again”
COVID is surging and the race towards a vaccine has never been more urgent. While labs around the world make continuing progress, the worldwide medical community agrees our best chance for a solution rests with two independent researchers: Robert Shearing and Linda Shearing-Davis, long considered the foremost experts on infectious disease, married until very recently.
AP spoke with the team outside their facility in Atlanta, GA.
AP: When did you first learn about COVID?
LINDA: We were literally walking out of the courthouse. I had planned a big trip to Tahoe.
ROB: I was about to start the Appalachian Trail.
LINDA: [under breath] again.
ROB: I was doing it this time.
LINDA: There had been whispers in the pathology community about a new threat; I had no idea it would be this serious. A friend of ours texted: “We really need you on this one.”
AP: Do you recall your reaction?
LINDA: Oh yeah. I screamed “ARE YOU F*CKING KIDDING ME” at the sky — then I threw my phone.
ROB: At me. You threw it at me.
LINDA: I threw it at a fountain, actually, Rob, but your stupid face was in the way.
AP: Did you begin work together immediately?
ROB: [Unhinged laughter.]
LINDA: NO… god, no.
ROB: Yeah, no. We imagined working separately would be… best for everyone.
LINDA: But after a series of collaborators…
ROB: You had that Dutch guy.
LINDA: So chatty. And you had the genius-grant winner —
ROB: — who did his best thinking while, get this, dancing.
LINDA: You weren’t threatened by his chest?
ROB: No! Why would — [to AP] I was not threatened by his chest.
LINDA: So after all these people, we realized… [exasperated exhale].
ROB: We work best together.