Official briefing on B.1.1.529 from South Africa Ministry of Health & featuring scientific experts. Excellent leadership and transparency from SA Minister of Health and @nicd_sa 👏 👏

100 genomes B.1.1.519 now identified in SA in Guateng Province

B.1.1.529 can be indicated as S Gene target failure in routine PCR testing. A small win because it enhances ability to monitor.

South Africa have detected an increase in SGTF across many regions, not just Guateng.
Laboratory studies are underway to better understand:

• transmissibility
• severity
• immune evasion

Results will take 2-3 weeks

Meanwhile Vaccines & NPIs measure will be tightened in South Africa 🇿🇦

• • •

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More from @kallmemeg

26 Nov
NEW: @UKHSA #COVID19 Variant Update

Technical Briefing 29… Image
B.1.1.529 in the UK

• Designated a Variant Under Investigation (VUI) VUI-21NOV-01

• No cases in the UK 🇬🇧 to date

• Enhanced case finding & rapid assessment is underway Image
B.1.1.529 variant has 32 mutations, which taken together are known to make SARS-CoV-2

• more infectious
• evade the immune system (resulting in ‘vaccine breakthrough’ infection & re-infection)
• reduce response to COVID-19 treatments
Read 8 tweets
24 Nov

A new video emerged overnight from a YouTube channel with 1.5M subs

It claimed the huge drop in cases in Japan were due to 2 things:

1. Ivermectin
2. COVID-19 mutated itself into extinction

I will fact-check 🧵 Image
First, the easy bit.

The video's primary argument is a classic case of correlation ≠ causation.

CLAIM: Ivermectin became legal to prescribe in Japan on 13 August. 12 days before the decline in cases started.

That's it. That's his evidence. Image
First of all, this is false.

Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic mainly used in to de-worm livestock, is NOT an approved COVID-19 treatment in Japan.

COVID-19 treatments are determined by Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA)…
Read 22 tweets
15 Nov
First, new AY.4.2 Risk Assessment

• Transmissibility: 🟥 RED
increasing numbers against Delta, AY.4.2 has an advantage

• Severity: 🟩 GREEN
no evidence of worse outcomes for AY.4.2

• Immunity: 🟩 GREEN
lab & surveillance studies show no difference in vaccine effectiveness
Let’s break it down:

++AY.4.2 immunity data++

In 2 lab live virus neutralisation studies, AY.4.2 had modest reduction (2.3-2.8 fold) vs D614G wild-type


*No difference* compared to OG Delta

• Denmark pre-print {…}
• UK G2P Consortium
Read 9 tweets
15 Nov
NEW: first bit of data out of @UKHSA early this Monday morning is a study on booster effectiveness, trailed by JVT in press conference

Real-world study from England shows *very* high effectiveness (>90%) against symptomatic infection vs unvaccinated

That is the headline, and it is the main driver for a rather huge policy shift to drop the threshold for boosters to age 40, in a bid to protect the NHS over the winter months.…
There are 2 other impressive conclusions from this study:

1. Comparing vaccine effectiveness of booster vs 'fully vaxxed' as the baseline. Booster ADDS 81-85% protection against symptomatic infection ON TOP of what you already had from your primary (2-dose) vaccination
Read 11 tweets
12 Nov
Right. Our rental is in the country and I need a country person to tell me WHY DO THE COWS MOO ALL NIGHT LONG AND CAN THEY NOT PLEASE🐮🥱
…and a cockerel at 5am fml
The culprits, so brazen, still mooing.

I may need a couple days to be sure they’re the same lot of cows, but I’m sure there were 3 calves with them yesterday.

Could they have separated the babies from the mummy cows? Image
Read 4 tweets
8 Nov
NEW: Household transmission of Delta vs Alpha now published 😊

Odds of household transmission 70% higher for Delta vs Alpha

{18 Mar - 7 June, 10,518 Alpha and 7,410 Delta cases}

5 Tweet 🧵…
This is an update to the analysis first in Tech Brief 15 and preprinted here; the source of the “63% more transmissible” stat:…
Why has the % increased?

The analysis was updated to:

• exclude households of 1 (who couldn’t transmit in the household)

• extended study period to June to include more Delta cases, and reflect a time with more community transmission (via travel imports)
Read 5 tweets

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