Pharmaceutical tech trends: Covid-19 leads Twitter mentions in May 2020

3 June 2020 (Last Updated June 10th, 2020 14:12)

Pharmaceutical tech trends: Covid-19 leads Twitter mentions in May 2020

Pharmaceutical Technology lists the top five terms tweeted on infectious diseases in May 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform. The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Covid-19 – 5,680 mentions

Global response to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, discussions about transmission dynamics, analyses revealing the existence of the virus much before than previously thought, were some of the popular topics discussed in May 2020. According to an article shared by Laurie Garrett, a Pulitzer Prize winning science journalist and author, the White House initiated plans to move the entire pandemic response into the state department. The article stated that the proposal could establish an alternative mechanism to tackle the World Health Organization (WHO), whose US funding Trump has already threatened to end.

Evidences further revealed that the Covid-19 virus existed in countries such as Paris, California and Washington State much before as expected, without people having had a travel history and much before government travel restrictions to China, according to Laurie Garrett. Gregg Gonsalves, a global health activist and epidemiologist, further tweeted on how the Covid-19 virus would be impacting the US elections, and the proportion of deaths caused by the pandemic.

In other news, Dr Muge Cevik, a physician and infectious diseases researcher, tweeted on how a lot of discussions around transmission dynamics were taking place to determine and trace the actual probability of the Covid-19 infection rate, high risk environments, age, and more.

2. Infections – 2,389 mentions

Discussions around how much contact tracing or community testing data is revealing about the actual Covid-19 infection rate, and with new data suggesting a spike in infections in May and June, and higher infections being witnessed in enclosed spaces, households, and gatherings suggesting closed contacts being a key driver, were some of the popularly discussed topics during the month. For instance, Dr Muge Cevik, a physician and infectious diseases researcher, tweeted on studies indicating that closed and prolonged contact with an infected person is required for Covid-19 transmission. The risk of infections is therefore highest in enclosed environments, households, public transport services, and long-term health care facilities.

Laurie Garrett, the science journalist, meanwhile, shared an article on newly revealed projections for Covid-19 in the US, indicating a rise in transmission or infections rate in May and June.

In other news, Helen Branswell, an infectious diseases and global health reporter, shared an article on the importance of Covid-19 vaccines, and whether we might be overestimating its power to necessarily prevent all or even most infections.

3. Health – 1,420 mentions

The contention of having to choose between public health and economy, dietary implications on public health, and the growing concern over reopening in a situation where Covid-19 cases rise and testing being not so effective, were popularly discussed in this month. For example, Gregg Gonsalves, a global health activist and epidemiologist, tweeted that it was never about choosing between public health and economy, and that the pandemic could still be fought against and livelihoods protected, through massive federal response.

Helen Branswell, an infectious diseases and global health reporter, meanwhile, reiterated that it was not good public health advice to reopen in most parts of the US as the number of Covid-19 cases was high and testing is poor. The article shared indicated that even though some cities reported signs of progress, others were reporting an increase in cases, suggesting that reopening, whether phased or not, could set off an explosion in cases thereby burdening the healthcare systems.

In other news, Marc Lipsitch, an infectious disease epidemiologist and microbiologist, tweeted on turning a vegetarian being the pro public health thing to do currently. He shared an article noting that Trump’s executive order to reopen meat plants could be endangering low wage workers and their communities, mostly immigrants, due to lack of protective gears and insufficient safety protocols.

4. Vaccine – 1,123 mentions

The urgency of Covid-19 vaccines, its safety, efficacy and preparedness, was widely discussed during the month. For instance, Helen Branswell, an infectious diseases and global health reporter, tweeted on the Covid-19 vaccine project due to be made available in a few months to one year. She added that it did not mean that one could get vaccinated in the same timeline. Therefore, providing for and deploying the vaccine globally is the bigger challenge ahead of countries.

Dr Tara C Smith, an infectious diseases epidemiologist and writer, tweeted on the same lines by advocating the urgency of preparedness for the delivery and administration of the Covid-19 vaccine, when approved and made available. She added that the aspects of packaging, storing, and delivering these vaccines were going ignored and that these capabilities had to be enhanced. The article shared by the influencer further noted that speeding up the timeline for vaccine development would mean shortcuts and therefore more errors.

In other news, Laurie Garrett, the science journalist, tweeted on the President’s Response to Outbreaks, or PRO scheme undermining United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and deciding who in the world could get access to US-made medical and vaccine supplies. A central fund to focus bilateral, multilateral and private sector is also designed under the PRO to fight the coronavirus pandemic, she added.

5. HIV – 676 mentions

Experts are of the opinion that despite the difficulties imposed by the lockdown, it is a good time to root out undiagnosed HIV, treat it and prevent new infections. Political neglect in handling epidemics such as HIV and coronavirus, and Covid-19 related service disruptions causing hundreds and thousands of extra deaths from HIV, were popularly discussed during the month. According to Carlos del Rio, a professor of global health and epidemiology, a top virologist, Peter Piot, had finally got the Covid-19 virus after fighting Ebola and HIV. The article shared by the influencer describes the scientist’s experience of facing death from the Covid-19 virus.

Helen Branswell, an infectious diseases and global health reporter, meanwhile highlighted how the Covid-19 urgency and disrupted services is reversing the gains made in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The article noted that new HIV infections among children were up by as much as 104%. A six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy could cause over 500,000 extra deaths from AIDS-related illnesses such as tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020–2021, the article detailed.

In other news, Matthew Hodson, executive director of NAM Publications, shared an article on the efficacy of vaccine development for preventing HIV. The article noted that a vaccine to prevent HIV could be available in the next five to ten years. Several promising vaccines are undergoing trials and results are expected by 2023, the article stated.