Twitter round up: Pharmaceutical Technology lists five of the most popular tweets on infectious diseases in Q4 2021 based on data from GlobalData’s Pharmaceuticals Influencer Platform.

The top tweets are based on total engagements (likes and retweets) received on tweets from more than 150 infectious disease experts tracked by GlobalData’s Pharmaceuticals Influencer platform during the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021.

The top tweets on infectious diseases in Q4 2021: Top five

1. Prof Peter Hotez’s tweet on emergency use authorisation for CORBEVAX in India

Prof Peter Hotez, professor and dean at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), shared an article on the CORBEVAX Covid-19 vaccine developed by the Texas Children’s Hospital and BCM securing emergency use authorisation (EUA) in India. The vaccine is based on a standard recombinant protein-based technology that allows for large-scale manufacture, making it widely available to inoculate the global population.

The vaccine was found to be safe and well tolerated in two Phase III clinical trials that recruited more than 3,000 participants. CORBEVAX showed a better immune response than COVISHIELD vaccine in terms of Neutralizing Antibody (nAb) Geometric Mean Titers (GMT) against the original Covid-19 strain and the Delta variant. Approval of the vaccine will enable the vaccination of low and middle-income countries that are most vulnerable to the pandemic, the article highlighted.

Username: Prof Peter Hotez

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Twitter handle: @PeterHotez

Likes: 17,455

Retweets: 6,092

2. Lawrence A. Tabak’s tweet on COVAXIN vaccine showing 77.8% efficacy against symptomatic Covid-19

Lawrence A. Tabak, acting director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), shared an article on COVAXIN (BBV152) vaccine showing 77.8% efficacy against symptomatic Covid-19 without any safety issues in a randomised, double-blind, and placebo-controlled Phase III clinical trial. The trial was conducted in 25 Indian hospitals to assess the clinical efficacy of the vaccine against Covid-19 infection. More than 25,000 adults aged 18 years and above were part of the study. The participants received either two intramuscular vaccine doses or placebo four weeks apart in the trial. The study found the vaccine to be highly effective in people with laboratory-confirmed symptomatic Covid-19 infection.

Developed by India-based biotechnology company Bharat Biotech, COVAXIN is a whole virion inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. It has received EUA in India and was also awarded Emergency Use Listing by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Username: Lawrence A. Tabak

Twitter handle: @NIHDirector

Likes: 11,725

Retweets: 5,320

3. Christian Drosten’s tweet on the reasons behind faster transmission of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant

Christian Drosten, a virologist and director at research institute Charité Virology in Germany, shared a study that examined the reasons behind the faster transmission of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant. Researchers at The University of Hong Kong’s (HKUMed) LKS Faculty of Medicine conducted a study using lung tissue. The study found that the Omicron variant multiplied 70 times quicker in the human bronchus than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Delta variant.

The Omicron variant, therefore, transmits faster between humans than the other variants. The infection caused by the variant in the lung was also lower compared to the original virus, which may be the reason behind the lower disease severity, the study found. The variant, however, has the potential to infect more people and cause severe illness even though it is less pathogenic indicating that it may be a significant threat.

Username: Christian Drosten

Twitter handle: @c_drosten

Likes: 4,130

Retweets: 1,069

4. Laurie Garrett’s tweet on warning issued by the WHO on the projected rise in deaths in Europe due to Covid-19

Laurie Garrett, a science journalist and author, tweeted on a warning issued by the WHO that more than half a million people in Europe may die due to Covid-19 by March 2022. The warning was issued after several countries reported high number of positive cases and introduced full and partial lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease. Austria, for example, introduced a nation-wide lockdown and enforced a legal requirement for people to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by February 2022.

The surge of infections was mainly due to the slow rate of vaccination in Europe, vaccine hesitancy, premature relaxation of restrictions and anti-vaccine movements, according to Dr Daniel Lopez Acuna, Adjunct Professor of the Andalusian School of Public Health. The WHO has advised the need for health measures to be implemented across Europe amid the surge in Covid-19 infections in the region.

Username: Laurie Garrett

Twitter handle: @Laurie_Garrett

Likes: 643

Retweets: 368

5. Ian M Mackay’s tweet on vaccinated people not being as infectious as unvaccinated

Ian M Mackay, a virologist and scientist, shared an article on the misconception that vaccinated people are as infectious as unvaccinated people. Several studies, including one published in the medical journal The Lancet, found no differences in peak virus levels between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The data presented, however, represents an incomplete picture of the population, and the methods used such as a single swab and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test do not provide information on overall viral load over time, the article highlighted.

The article added that vaccinated people cleared the Covid-19 virus faster with lower overall viral levels than unvaccinated people. Furthermore, vaccinated people are more likely to have a lower overall virus load and thus are less infectious although the peak load may be identical. Vaccinated people also have a lower chance of spreading the virus including the Delta variant since vaccinations can accelerate the elimination of Covid from the body.

Username: Ian M. Mackay

Twitter handle: @MackayIM

Likes: 437

Retweets: 194