Infectious diseases Twitter round-up: Julia Belluz’s tweet on Covid-19 pandemic top in February 2020

19 March 2020 (Last Updated June 23rd, 2020 15:33)

Infectious diseases Twitter round-up: Julia Belluz’s tweet on Covid-19 pandemic top in February 2020

Pharmaceutical Technology lists ten of the top tweets on infectious diseases in February 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 February 2020

1. Julia Belluz’s tweet on Covid-19 becoming a pandemic

Julia Belluz, a senior health correspondent for Vox, shared an article on the Covid-19 becoming a pandemic according to global health experts’ numbers. The article noted that the virus had spread to approximately 40 countries, including Italy, Iran, and South Korea, to start with. Public health experts also cited the inability to curb the spread of the disease, even though the world scrambles to ban travel, lockdown cities, and quarantine the sick.

The article further noted that on February 25, 2020, the number of cases stood at 2,600 outside of China. Latest science also suggests that people may transmit the virus much earlier in their illness or even before showing typical symptoms.

Username: Julia Belluz

Twitter handle: @juliaoftoronto

Retweets: 623

Likes: 736

2. Laurie Garrett’s tweet on the US less prepared to respond to Covid-19

Laurie Garrett, an American science journalist and author, shared an article on the less preparedness of the US to tackle Covid-19. The article noted that the country lacks preparedness due to a number of reasons such as personnel and budget cuts made by the Trump administration in the past three years.

With the global health ‘czar’ eliminated and steps after Ebola outbreak being scrapped to cuts in CDC funding that supported nearly 49 countries, the US seems to have hampered its contingency plans for a global outbreak, the article stated.

Username: Laurie Garrett

Twitter handle: @ Laurie_Garrett

Retweets: 235

Likes: 347

3. Helen Branswell’s tweet on China’s trial of remdesivir for treating Covid-19

Helen Branswell, a senior writer of infectious diseases, tweeted on China experimenting with the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat Covid-19. The tweet further mentioned that the drug is active against related CoVs SARS and MERS in test-tube experiments and animal studies. China was due to conduct a clinical trial on the drug as well.

Username: Helen Branswell

Twitter handle: @HelenBranswell

Retweets: 243

Likes: 361

4. Ian Mackay’s tweet on an Australian coronavirus vaccine going into test production

Ian Mackay, a scientist and virologist, shared an article on a Melbourne factory going into a test production of a potential coronavirus vaccine. Developed in just six weeks by researchers from the University of Queensland, the first test dose is ready to be administered on animals.

The researchers identified the spike protein, a key section of the virus, and are using the ‘molecular clamp’ technology to kill it. If deduced safe and effective, the vaccine will be used on human trials.

Username: Ian M Mackay

Twitter handle: @ MackayIM

Retweets: 201

Likes: 444

5. Dr Tara Smith’s infectious diseases tweet on the association between pangolins and coronavirus

Dr Tara C Smith, an American epidemiologist and science communicator, tweeted that after testing more than 1,000 samples of animals, it was found that viruses found in pangolins showed a 99% match to those in coronavirus patients. Regarded as the most trafficked animal, a million have been poached and snatched from Asia and Africa in the past decade, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Username: Dr Tara C Smith

Twitter handle: @aetiology

Retweets: 154

Likes: 409

6. Peter Hotez’s tweet on eliminating cervical cancer in the US

Peter Hotez, a vaccine scientist, paediatrician, and author, shared an article on eliminating cervical cancer. The article noted that cervical cancer, which is the fourth most common cancer in women, can be eradicated in the US. With almost 13,000 new cases reported in 2019, and more than 4,000 expected to die from it, the US has been the slowest in adopting the HPV vaccines.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, cervical cancer is a global health problem, with the idea of 90% of the girls aged less than 15 years to be vaccinated by 2030. Australia and Rwanda are leading the race in HPV vaccine adoption.

Username: Prof Peter Hotez

Twitter handle: @PeterHotez

Retweets: 115

Likes: 283

7. Francis Collins’ tweet on the ineffective experimental HIV vaccine regimen

Francis S Collins, an American physician-geneticist, shared an article on an investigational HIV vaccine regimen that proved to be ineffective in its HVTN 702 clinical trial. NIH and partners stopped discontinued the vaccinations because they found that the regimen did not prevent HIV.

The HVTN 702 trial was conducted among 5,407 HIV-negative volunteers across South Africa, which has the highest HIV rates in the world. The article further noted that approximately 20% of the adult population were living with HIV in South Africa, with 240,000 new cases in 2018. Young women were particularly regarded as most vulnerable to contracting the disease.

Username: Francis S Collins

Twitter handle: @NIHDirector

Retweets: 27

Likes: 76

8. Seth Berkley’s tweet on four African countries receiving the licence for Ebola prevention

Seth Berkley, a medical epidemiologist, shared an article on four countries in Africa receiving the licence for Ebola prevention. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, Ghana and Zambia have licensed the Ebola vaccine, 90 days after WHO prequalification.

Manufactured by Merck, the injectable vaccine, Ervebo, showed 97.5% efficacy in its preliminary studies. The article also noted that vaccination can also prevent deaths in people already affected.

Username: Seth Berkley

Twitter handle: @GaviSeth

Retweets: 18

Likes: 55

9. Steven Pergam’s tweet on guidelines for treating tuberculosis infection

Steven Pergam, an infectious diseases physician and researcher, shared an article on the CDC and National Tuberculosis Controllers Association (NTCA) guidelines for treating latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in the US. The article noted that for patients who did not suffer from drug intolerance or drug-drug interactions, three to four months of rifamycin-based treatment was preferred compared to six to nine months of isoniazid monotherapy.

Username: Steven Pergam

Twitter handle: @PergamIC

Retweets: 38

Likes: 110

10. Paul Sax’s tweet on high‐dose cefazolin for treating infections in hemodialysis patients

Paul Sax, the clinical director of the HIV Program and Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, shared an article describing a clinical study of Methicillin‐sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) bacteremia, a leading cause of infection in hemodialysis patients.

The study found that high-dose cefazolin could be ideal for treating such infections, eliminating the need for a PICC line or catheters. It also revealed its association with early discharge, and lower costs. However, the article noted that further studies had to be carried out to determine its safety and efficacy.

Username: Paul Sax

Twitter handle: @PaulSaxMD

Retweets: 35

Likes: 185