Antonio Regalado Profile picture
Progress in science depends on new techniques, new discoveries and new ideas, probably in that order - {Sydney Brenner}. I write about biotech @techreview
EricStoner Profile picture Kabir Brar Profile picture Amy Harmon Profile picture 3 added to My Authors
31 Aug
Russian Federation public relations sent me a statement from Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, crowing about how U.S. may follow their license-first, see if it works later, coronavirus vaccine strategy.

Read on to see how they troll:

1/9
Dear all,

Please see below the quote by RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev:

“The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) notes the desire of the US and British authorities to follow the fast-track registration procedure for coronavirus vaccines ...applied in the Russian Federation.

2/9
"Our partners in the United States and the United Kingdom have recently aggressively criticized Russia for registering the world's first vaccine against COVID-19, Sputnik V.

3/9

(more: technologyreview.com/2020/08/11/100… )
Read 9 tweets
4 Aug
Another biohacker planning to take a home brew vaccine. Third group that I know of. Other two have already done so.
Some of these groups are shrouded in secrecy. Here is a "blurred" image interview with one of them.

Face is concealed, but based on voice and body language, should be easy to ID. I feel that the name is on the tip of my tounge.
I don't have time to doxx or write about all of them, so instead i will do this thread.
Read 13 tweets
29 Jul
The George Church selfie of him taking a DIY coronavirus vaccine. This picture is a classic

This is the thread to go with it.
Today @techreview reported on an independent effort to gain immunity to Covid-19 organized by 'citizen scientists' @PrestonWEstep , @HoekstraTweets and others.

About 20 people have taken this nasal vaccine they say.

Here is the story. technologyreview.com/2020/07/29/100…
It begins in March when Preston Estep blasts an email to associates, asking if anyone knows of a DIY plan to create a vaccine against covid-19.

The fearsome pandemic is gaining speed in the US and corporate vaccine efforts are at an early stage.

Here is the email:
Read 24 tweets
27 Apr
A "secret group" of scientists and their recommendations for a Manhattan Project against covid-19 (incl @SchreiberStuart and @davidrliu )

they "identified monoclonal antibody drugs that latch onto virus cells as most promising treatment. " (thread)

wsj.com/articles/the-s…
The WSJ story isn't clear about why this group is secret or if anyone is heeding them, or why their 17 page report is confidential.

But I kinda agree with them about the antibody drugs! Here's a feature we did a couple of weeks ago:
technologyreview.com/2020/04/10/998…
Our feature story on the antibody drugs is paywalled as nonessential content and wasnt widely read so I will tweet a couple of passages.
Read 13 tweets
26 Feb
I will thread some scientific information behind the $100 genome claim. 1/
2/ First of all, claim comes from Rade Drmanac, scientific founder of Complete Genomics, acquired by BGI, now called BGI Group, and part of instrument subsdiary MGI. Got that?

BGI GROUP
\
MGI Tech
\
Complete Genomics
3/ Their method doesn't use PCR to amplify the DNA. Allegedly makes it more accurate.

preprint:

Whole Genome Sequencing Using a Complete PCR-free Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS) Workflow biorxiv.org/content/10.110…
Read 4 tweets
26 Feb
Are you gassing up the car, stocking up on food, or making for your cabin?

If you are a technologist preparing for the coronavirus, want to share prep stories, or think personal preparation is dumb, please DM me...or post ideas to this thread!
First of all, let's revisit the poll I ran last month and see what changed.

Have you done any "pandemic shopping" yet? Bought masks, food, or water?
Here are results of same poll, last Jan 28th.
Read 4 tweets
24 Feb
Group in Switzerland has recreated the coronavirus in part from synthetic DNA.

They ordered the genetic parts from a Chinese company, Genscript

(1/thread)

biorxiv.org/content/10.110…
This is a record. The sequence went online January 14th and this team managed to recreate the virus about a month later.
2/
It wasnt wholly synthetic. They ended up getting a copy of the genome of the real virus from which they grabbed a couple of bits that proved hard to synthesize.
3/
Read 5 tweets
20 Feb
Reporter looks into claim that an AI epidemiologist sent the first warnings of the Wuhan virus.
That was the headline of a news story in January
wired.com/story/ai-epide… about a program called BlueDot which sent a warning Dec 31
according to new AP story, both a human-run alert system (@ProMED_mail) and a different automated system sent out alerts a day before.
Read 4 tweets
19 Feb
One of the most important, least visible, and hardest to learn or teach skills in journalism is editing.
sometimes it arises if people are in a hurry a reporter may sit behind the editor to field questions as the edit unspools, and in those moments you get a direct glimpse at the witchcraft.
it basically is wool of bat, toe of frog, and fillet of fenny snake. the great editor can have a big collection of tricks, to make the charm firm and good.
Read 5 tweets
27 Jan
I've noticed that Twitter is a cesspool of fake information about the coronavirus.

Here is a run down of top conspiracy theories.
I should say I am willing to entertain that some of the conspiracy theories are true. Just hard to tell. The information flow is being twisted by anti-CCP accounts linked to Hong Kong protests.
top conspiracy theory about coronavirus is that it was created by a military virus research lab near Wuhan. newsmax.com/newsfront/gert…
Read 4 tweets
24 Jan
During the SARS epidemic, "nosocomial" or hospital driven spread of the virus was a major contributor to the epidemic. Something like 77% of SARS cases in Toronto acquired in hospitals.
Here's the reference on that.

nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Fi…
CNN raised the idea of a "super spreader" -- someone who infects many others.

It's also called the 20/80 rule: a small percentage of victims cause most transmission.

superspreading can have to do with context (airplane cabin) as well as individual biology (immune supression).
Read 5 tweets
24 Jan
Because my main reporting subject is the cutting edge of biotechnology and conception, I will listen to Trump speech at the March of Life rally, starting shortly live and at CSPAN, and thread any highlights relevant to R&D.

c-span.org/video/?468482-…
Intro music is House of the Rising Sun by the Animals.

Not sure what this means, if anything. I guess it's about some kind of den of sin.

getyarn.io/yarn-clip/9468…
Here comes Trump. Song is God Bless The USA by Lee Greenwood.
Read 12 tweets
16 Jan
Looks like Broad Institute just got some CRISPR patents in Europe revoked.
lifesciencesipreview.com/news/breaking-…
It has to do with rules by which one earns a priority date. Broad lost theirs after a challenge. The reason had to do with how Broad flip flopped early on on whether Luciano Marrafini of Rockefeller was an inventor or not.
Read 7 tweets
15 Jan
WHO seeking feedback on governance mechanisms for gene-editing in wake of CRISPR babies. (thread)
One of the interesting questions about whether WHO should create "whistleblowing" mechanism "for the reporting of unregistered, unethical or illegal uses of human genome editing on individuals."
Curiously, the WHO questionnaire makes no mention of a role for journalists in governance. In their list of "institutions, organizations and people [that] can play important roles" they list science fiction writers, biohackers, but not reporters!
Read 5 tweets
30 Dec 19
Three people convicted in the CRISPR baby case are

We all know who He Jiankui is. But who the heck are Zhang Renli (two years) and Qin Jinzhou (18 months)??

Turns out they are the embryologists. THREAD on why that matters.
So He submitted a paper to Nature (and later JAMA) detailing the editing of human embryos which lists ten authors, nearly all from the Southern University of Science and Technology.

We got a copy of it a while back and you can see some excerpts here. technologyreview.com/f/614779/china…
So Qin Jinzhou is the first author listed on the draft manuscript and given his expertise, in embryology, you can infer he actually injected the CRISPR into the embryos.
Read 13 tweets
5 Dec 19
Veritas Genetics which tried to make a business offering inexpensive whole genome sequencing to consumers, is going out of business in the U.S., looks like.

Had problems including a data breach and just a lack of demand from people to know their genes.
"Veritas in July said that it had sequenced 5,000 genomes, with a goal of sequencing more than 150,000 in 2021. The company has raised more than $50 million in venture funding, according to Crunchbase."

From story last month reporting the databreach. bloomberg.com/news/articles/…
In 2017 we reported Veritas going to offer whole genome sequencing for Chinese kids, but planned offerings to that market -- predictions about baldness, musical talent -- were condemned by expert opinion here.

The china baby plan was quickly cancelled

technologyreview.com/s/608086/baby-…
Read 8 tweets
25 Nov 19
So the first (of many) books about CRISPR babies is out. "The CRISPR Generation" by @kiranmusunuru , a gene editor at Penn Medicine.

First hand account of being let in on He Jiankui's big secret and what he learned.

amazon.com/Crispr-Generat…
Musunuru is first with a CRISPR babies book. He did it by self-publishing with @BookBaby . Interesting model!

There are several other CRISPR books underway, we reported.

technologyreview.com/f/613908/crisp…
You can hear Musunuru talk about his experience on the @laurahercher podcast The Beagle Has Landed (interview from a while back, but covers material also in book. )
beaglelanded.com/podcasts/kiran…
Read 4 tweets
20 Nov 19
Gattaca embryo test company corrects Nature Scientific Reports paper on predicting traits from DNA which did not disclose financial interests of the founders. (thread)

nature.com/articles/s4159…
2/ May be some other papers without COI (conflict of interest) statements as well. We will see if authors correct
3/While COI discloses the *roles* of the authors in the company, does not disclose any actual financial interest/COI in the specific technology (genetic models) described in the paper.

Like, who owns it -- Michigan State? The company? -- and is it being used commercially.
Read 5 tweets
19 Nov 19
The dawn of gene-editing to cure inherited disease.

version 1 -- breaking sh*t

ir.crisprtx.com/news-releases/…
The diseases treated, sickle cell, beta-thalassemia, both caused wrongly shaped hemoglobin. that is what carries oxygen in the blood. painful diseases.
but some people with these diseases don't suffer much, because their bodies still produce fetal hemoglobin (whereas, in the rest of us, it's off).

One of many cases in which "strange" cases provide a map to treatment.
Read 8 tweets
8 Nov 19
Polygenic risk predictions for IVF embryos are reaching the market. Story and some further observations (thread)

technologyreview.com/s/614690/polyg…
2/ The company selling these tests is called @GenomPrediction It's like 23andMe report, but for embryos. Here is a demo scorecard from the company, ranking an embryo by disease risk.
@GenomPrediction 3/
Another picture of exemplar reports, this time with two embryos. Because you would be comparing them, and selecting the "best"...though what that means is up for debate.
Read 21 tweets
6 Nov 19
"Doctors have for the first time tested a powerful gene-editing technique in people with cancer" -- NYTIMES

Fact check: CRISPR employed in treating cancer many times in China already.

Risk of US-centric view = miss the action.

nytimes.com/2019/11/06/hea…
Here's a WSJ story documenting pretty convincingly previous use of CRISPR in cancer treatment. wsj.com/articles/china…
If anyone has it, I would like to see the PR from the University of Pennsylvania on their CRISPR test, because it might be the source of the error.
Read 6 tweets