Pharmaceutical Technology lists ten of the top tweets on infectious diseases in March 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform. The top tweets were chosen from influencers as tracked by GlobalData’s Influencer Platform, which is based on a scientific process that works on pre-defined parameters. Influencers are selected after a deep analysis of the influencer’s relevance, network strength, engagement, and leading discussions on new and emerging trends.

Top tweets on infectious diseases in March 2020

1. Francis Collins’ infectious diseases tweet on the NIH clinical trial of an investigational vaccine for Covid-19

Francis Collins, the NIH director, shared an article on the phase 1 clinical trial of the investigational vaccine, designed to protect against Covid-19. The article noted that the trial had begun at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle, and was being funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The mRNA-1273 was developed by NIAID scientists and collaborators at the biotechnology company Moderna, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. About 45 healthy volunteers between the age of 18 and 55 years are undergoing the trial, with the first one to get vaccinated on 16 March, 2020.

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Username: Francis S Collins

Twitter handle: @NIHDirector

Retweets: 4,366

Likes: 10,521

2. Gregg Gonsalves’ infectious diseases tweet on the AIDS epidemic

Gregg Gonsalves, an epidemiologist and global health activist, tweeted on how at the height of the AIDS epidemic, posters stating the government has blood on its hands, one AIDS death every half hour, popped up across the cities in the US. The tweet further stated that if the government did not stand against the misinformation and incompetence, they would be responsible for not meeting this crisis as well.

Username: Gregg Gonsalves

Twitter handle: @gregggonsalves

Retweets: 4,627

Likes: 7,338

3. Carlos Rios’ tweet on airport screening turning futile to curb Covid-19

Carlos Rio, a Hubert Professor and Chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health, shared a study on how futile airport screening was turning out to be, in an effort to control the coronavirus spread. The research further noted that despite screenings that involved checking temperatures, and questioning passengers about their travel plans, it has not been easy to detect infected travellers.

The study further stated that it has been historically proven that airport screenings for SARS, Ebola, and the H1N1 pandemics have all been unsuccessful in slowing the spread of the virus. Likewise, the US has been unable to catch those infected with the SARS-CoV-2, with the disease affecting the country at a rapid pace.

Username: Carlos del Rio

Twitter handle: @CarlosdelRio7

Retweets: 778

Likes: 986

4. Peter Hotez’s tweet on Louisiana reporting the highest Covid-19 deaths in the US

Peter Hotez, a vaccine scientist and paediatrician, shared data on the coronavirus cases in the US. The influencer further noted that Louisiana reported the highest deaths with a fatality rate of 4%, which is higher than in other places. This he emphasised could be on account of two reasons. Already weighed down healthy systems, or the extreme Gulf Coast poverty. The latter linked to diabetes, hypertension, and other noncommunicable or chronic diseases.

Username: Prof Peter Hotez

Twitter handle: @PeterHotez

Retweets: 398

Likes: 616

5. Laurie Garrett’s infectious diseases tweet on hydroxychloroquine side effects

Laurie Garrett, a science journalist and author, tweeted on the related side effects of the malaria drug, Chloroquine. She added that people need to consider that it causes deep depression and suicide. The article shared by the influencer noted that two drug manufacturers, Teva and Mylan, have jumpstarted the production of the old malaria drug. This is because it is being seen as useful in combating the novel coronavirus.

The article further stated that the Trump administration singled out the medicine to expedite its efficacy and use in treating Covid-19. The drug, which is authorised for use for the treatment of Lupus and Rheumatoid arthritis, was supplied sparingly, and was also short on supply in the month of March.

Username: Laurie Garrett

Twitter handle: @Laurie_Garrett

Retweets: 356

Likes: 812

6. Julia Belluz’s tweet on China having downplayed the coronavirus outbreak earlier on

Julia Belluz, a senior health correspondent at Vox, shared an article on the possibility of the virus having taken off weeks earlier than the Chinese official actually suggested. The article noted that China announced the outbreak of a mysterious pneumonia, in late December. This was contrary to the earliest case who was showing symptoms two weeks prior to that.

A study published in The Lancet further established that the first case of SARS-CoV-2 did not have any link to the Hunan seafood market, the epicentre of the outbreak. Researchers found many other discrepancies from the first 41 patients being studied.

Username: Julia Belluz

Twitter handle: @juliaoftoronto

Retweets: 286

Likes: 595

7. Marc Lipsitch’s tweet on vitamin D supplementation for preventing acute respiratory tract infections

Marc Lipsitch, an infectious diseases epidemiologist and microbiologist, shared a study to assess the overall effect of vitamin D supplements on respiratory tract infections, and to identify factors that modified this effect. The results were comprehensive in deducing that it was safe to use, and that it did protect against such infections. The study also found that from among the participants, those with vitamin D deficiency benefitted the most.

Username: Marc Lipsitch

Twitter handle: @mlipsitch

Retweets: 272

Likes: 588

8. Dr Tara Smith’s tweet on great apes facing the coronavirus threat

Dr Tara C Smith, epidemiologist and science communicator, shared an article on how lethal the SARS-CoV-2 can be for the great apes as well. With already existing risk of extinction and being susceptible to human disease, the apes have already succumbed to Ebola in many areas, the influencer tweeted.

The article further noted that leading scientists warned that the family of chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans could all be wiped out by the coronavirus. However, no cases of them being infected were reported as yet.

Username: Dr Tara C Smith

Twitter handle: @aetiology

Retweets: 142

Likes: 250

9. Helen Branswell’s tweet on no new Ebola cases or deaths

Helen Branswell, an infectious diseases and global health reporter, tweeted on no new Ebola cases or deaths reported at the end of February. She further added that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had reported no new cases till the last 12 days of the month, and that only six cases occurred in the entire month of February.

Username: Helen Branswell

Twitter handle: @HelenBranswell

Retweets: 86

Likes: 430

10. Ian Mackay’s tweet on the health chief’s warning of the flu and coronavirus striking at the same time

Ian Mackay, a virologist and scientist, shared an article on Brett Sutton, the chief health officer of Victoria state having announced that who fell sick in the flu season would be tested for coronavirus and influenza at the same time. The article further noted that the chief asked the public to get the influenza vaccine, if they were well or mildly sick.

Co-infection with influenza and SARS-CoV-2 had already been documented in China. Consequently, medical experts were quite sure of the overlapping of the flu season with the coronavirus outbreak in Australia, in late March.

Username: Ian M Mackay

Twitter handle: @MackayIM

Retweets: 83

Likes: 162