Pharmaceutical Technology lists the top five terms tweeted on infectious diseases in August 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 – 3,260 mentions

Fewer Covid-19 outbreaks, backlog of unprocessed health data, and pandemic policies to define and measure mild infection, were some of the topics discussed in August 2020. According to an article shared by Laurie Garrett, a science journalist and author, a server outage in California helped discover a backlog of approximately 250,000 and 300,000 unprocessed health records, mostly relating to Covid-19 tests.

Ian Mackay, a virologist and scientist, further discussed how New Zealand managed to eliminate community transmission of the Covid-19 over a period of 65 days. The article detailed how measures such as border restrictions, lockdown, and contact tracing helped achieve low cases and death numbers as compared to other developed nations.

In other news, Helen Branswell, an infectious diseases and global health reporter, tweeted about how the upcoming winter season could prove to be a bleak time for the US, if the Covid-19 virus is not curbed. Public health experts believe that November to February will be tough months for the nation, especially in the northern regions and in the absence of a potentially effective vaccine.

2. Infections – 1,575 mentions

The outbreak of new infections, Covid-19 infection rates, hypersensitivity to any viral infection, and the efficacy of masks in curtailing infection, was popularly discussed during the month. For instance, Dr. Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist and infection preventionist, tweeted on how hypersensitivity to any infection, whether respiratory or viral, would further complicate things for people during the flu season. She added that employers would stress on employees getting tested and not return to work until test results arrived.

Meanwhile, Trevor Bedford, a scientist, tweeted on how it can be presumed that much of Florida has already been affected and treated by the Covid-19 virus. However, if confirmed cases were to be matched against underlying infections, as many as four million or 20% of the population were affected.

In other news, Carlos del Rio, a professor of global health and epidemiology, discussed the efficacy of masks in blocking SARS-CoV-2. According to a study conducted among seven patients, KF94 and N95 respirator masks were found to be more effective in blocking the spread of the viral RNA to surfaces than surgical masks.

3. Vaccine – 906 mentions

Growing R&D and approval concerns around a Covid-19 vaccine, and delays in its arrival due to political stifles, were some of the widely discussed topics during the month. According to an article shared by Marc Lipsitch, an infectious disease epidemiologist and microbiologist, a comprehensive and strict lockdown was important to curb the spread of the virus before the arrival of a vaccine.

The article further detailed that 39% of the workers in the US fell under the essential categories and were therefore more vulnerable to the disease, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Additionally, the March to May lockdown was not uniform and stringent across the nation.

Prof Peter Hotez, a scientist and paediatrician, further discussed how the world needed a low-cost people’s vaccine to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic. The article noted that the vaccine race should not be one that of a big pharmaceutical monopoly, and that an Oxford University trial was on its way to developing a vaccine for all.

In other news, Kai Kupferschmidt, a science journalist and molecular biologist, shared an article on Russia’s new Covid-19 vaccine as being premature. The vaccine cannot be use until or before January 2021 and before more clinical trials have been conducted, the article noted.

4. Health – 536 mentions

New Ebola outbreaks in health zones and areas, new health priorities, and how the global coronavirus pandemic will reshape public health, society, governments, science and medicine, were popularly discussed in the month of August. For example, Dr. Maia Majumder, a computational epidemiologist and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, tweeted on how Covid-19 vaccine distribution will reveal bigger challenges and the intersection of public health across disciplines.

Judy Stone, an infectious disease specialist and author, meanwhile, shared an article on public health experts’ views that lockdown is the last resort to curbing the spread of the pandemic in the US. The article further noted that this may not be feasible and would be an absolute morale breaker according to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases

In other news, Prof Didier Pittet, an infectious diseases expert, tweeted on how Richard Horton’s book The Covid-19 Catastrophe reveals how the global pandemic will change everything, the society, government, science, and more. He further notes that a new social order with more clinical trials, more equity, and solidarity will be set in.

5. HIV – 429 mentions

The analysis of Covid-19 and HIV, higher mortality rates and the contributions of the charitable sector to supporting and enhancing HIV care, were discussed during the month. According to an article shared by Laura Waters, a physician, the healthcare industry is completely reliant on HIV charity partners to provide better care and support. However, charity cuts and the funding crisis have been putting more pressure on healthcare providers in the UK, the article noted.

Matthew Hodson, executive director of NAM aidsmap, an HIV source for patient care and information, discussed how criminalising sex work did not prevent HIV. Instead, it increased the risk of HIV infection in female sex workers sevenfold in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a research presented in the 10th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2019).

In other news, Muge Cevik, a physician and an infectious diseases researcher, tweeted about groups producing data to work in partnership with HIV communities. She further notes that as these groups and societies understand the disease better, they can help address implication areas more appropriately.