Professor Melissa Maginnis (left) works in her lab with Jeanne DuShane, PhD, a graduate from the Maginnis Lab. Credit: Courtesy of Holland Haverkamp

A University of Maine professor was featured on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” last week, helping to bust some misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Melissa Maginnis— a professor in the University of Maine’s molecular and biological sciences department — was asked by Kimmel if she knew anything about the size of the spike proteins that surround the COVID-19 virus, after a vaccine misinformation-spreading Idaho YouTuber said “nobody knows” how big they are.

Maginnis, who has a doctorate in virology, said that yes, in fact, they do know how big the spike proteins are — to the nanometer.

“Spike proteins are approximately 20 nanometers in size,” she said. “We know a great deal about spike proteins.”

And with that, her appearance was essentially over. Short but sweet, and to the point — and very funny. The part of the clip featuring Maginnis starts at around 5:11, and she’s specifically interviewed by Kimmel around minute seven.

Maginnis spoke to the Bangor Daily News in the early days of the pandemic, and explained exactly how the COVID-19 virus works — how it is able to be transmitted so easily, how it enters the body and binds to cells and why soap kills it. She also shared her experiences teaching her own children about the virus.

“I think for a lot of kids, they’re going to remember how they felt during this time. The details of what they learned might be a little fuzzy, but the basic concepts, and the emotions they had, will stick,” Maginnis said. “How we react during this time is really important. We remember the experience of learning as much as we do the specifics.”

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.