Kai Kupferschmidt Profile picture
@kakape.bsky.social science journalist. molecular biologist. curious. writer at @sciencemagazine part of @pandemiapodcast, all things #blue
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Aug 4 10 tweets 3 min read
The two papers on the #H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in cats in Poland make for really interesting reading. The first describes the outbreak and the second investigates the emergence and transmission.
(I'm on a train again so a brief thread). "Information about a highly fatal disease in cats with respiratory and nervous system signs began to circulate in social media and among cat lovers in mid-June 2023." Cases were mostly from cities but across the map...
Aug 3 9 tweets 3 min read
A paper just out in @Eurosurveillanc describes the large and ongoing #H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in fur farms in western Finland with infections in foxes, American minks and raccoon dogs. (Paper mentions 20 farms though 2 more have been affected since):
eurosurveillance.org/content/10.280… @Eurosurveillanc I wrote about an earlier outbreak on a fur farm in Spain last year and why these are concerning:
Here again it looks likely that the virus was transmitted from mammal to mammal and even between different species:science.org/content/articl…
Jun 29 10 tweets 2 min read
I spoke to @WHO's new chief scientist @JeremyFarrar about why he decided to take the job, what new technologies the world needs to prepare for and how dangerous #SARSCoV2 remains.
Q&A is here (and short thread coming in a bit):
science.org/content/articl… @WHO @JeremyFarrar Farrar is only the second person to hold this post. @doctorsoumya, who was the first, had to pivot to #covid19 after a few months in the position and so, Farrar told me, "it’s fair to say that the role of chief scientist is still to be fully framed".
May 5 5 tweets 4 min read
The @WHO has just declared an end to the #COVID19 public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
"I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency", says @DrTedros at press conference going on now. @WHO @DrTedros "That does not mean COVID-19 is over as a global health threat", says @DrTedros.
"Last week, COVID-19 claimed a life every three minutes and that's just the deaths we know about."
Apr 15 9 tweets 2 min read
According to a new update from @WHO, the #Marburg outbreak in Equatorial Guinea is now up to 15 confirmed cases plus 23 probable cases.
All of the probable and at least 11 of the 15 confirmed cases have died (3 recovered, fate of one is unknown) Image Of the last 5 cases, 4 were reported in Bata district.
„The presence of confirmed cases in Bata increases the risk of disease spread, as it is the most populated city and economic hub of Equatorial Guinea, with an international airport and port.“
Mar 22 6 tweets 2 min read
There is finally an update on the #Marburg situation in Equatorial Guinea:
Total now stands at 9 confirmed and 20 probable cases. A month ago there was only one confirmed case.

27 of these cases have died (including all probable and 7 out of 9 lab confirmed cases) 13 March: two positive tests from Kié-Ntem province
15 March: a case from Litoral province tests positive
„The two provinces (Kié-Ntem and Litoral) are located in different parts of the country, about 150 kilometers apart“
Mar 8 10 tweets 2 min read
As someone who mostly covers #globalhealth, I find it remarkable that the closing statement of #HGESummit specifically addresses "Equitable access for somatic human genome editing".

So let me quote that part here in full: "As interventions based on somatic genome editing become more widespread, a commitment to equitable, financially sustainable, and accessible treatments becomes more urgent."
Mar 8 7 tweets 2 min read
After three days of talks at the #HGESummit, Robin Lovell-Badge now reading closing statement: "Remarkable progress has been made in somatic human genome editing, demonstrating it can cure once incurable diseases. To realise its full therapeutic potential, research is needed to expand the range of diseases it can treat, and to better understand risks and unintended effects
Mar 8 11 tweets 4 min read
Session now on "Are there compelling reasons for heritable human genome editing?" at #HGESummit. Ephrat Levy-Lahad giving an overview of global regulation first:
„There's not a single country where heritable genome editing is currently permitted.“ This probably does not reflect universal opposition to the technology, but rather current limitations, she says, „in particular, the realisation that there is still a major issue of safety and clinical application would not take place until these issues are resolved“
Mar 7 38 tweets 24 min read
Day 2 at #HGESummit at @TheCrick. It will be another full day @TheCrick Patient groups were much more active around gene editing five, six years ago, says @MBoudes. Says he does not know why. "I hope to find the answer from the discussion with my fellow speakers and also from the audience." #HGESummit
Mar 6 21 tweets 11 min read
In London at @TheCrick to attend the Third International Summit on Human Genome Editing. Should be an interesting three days. #HGESummit Image @TheCrick "China has considerably improved its legislation and regulations regarding life sciences, including human genome editing, over the last several years", says Yaojin Peng at #HGESummit.
Mar 3 19 tweets 4 min read
Vor zwei Wochen habe ich mich in Berlin mit @jeremyfarrar getroffen. Er war auf dem Weg zur @MunSecConf und wir haben über Covid und H5N1 gesprochen und darüber, was Terroranschläge und Pandemien verbindet…

Wer fürs Wochenende noch was zum hören braucht:
superelektrik.de/pandemia/updat… Zu Covid:
Farrar sagt, er trage in öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln noch immer Maske. „Aber es stört mich nicht, dass die meisten anderen Menschen das nicht tun.” Im Großteil der Welt sieht er keine Notwendigkeit mehr für Einschränkungen.
Feb 28 18 tweets 15 min read
Two weeks ago I met with @jeremyfarrar to talk for our @pandemiapodcast.
He was on his way to the @MunSecConf and we discussed Covid, H5N1 and what connects those trying to prevent acts of terror and those fighting pandemics

Episode (in German) is here:
superelektrik.de/pandemia/updat… @JeremyFarrar @pandemiapodcast @MunSecConf On Covid:
Farrar says he still wears a mask on public transport. "But it doesn't worry me that most other people don't. There's no need, in my view, in most of the world for any restrictions."
"We're in a good position", he says.
Feb 26 5 tweets 2 min read
Here are the details on the Cambodian #H5N1 cases from @WHO:
An 11 year old girl fell sick February 16, died February 22
Her father is positive, but asymptomatic and in isolation
11 other close contacts tested negative

Virus belongs to clade

who.int/emergencies/di… “A joint animal-human health investigation is underway in the province of the index case to identify the source and mode of transmission. Additionally, a high-level government response is underway to contain any further spread of the virus.”
Feb 24 10 tweets 8 min read
Cambodia has informed @WHO of two confirmed cases of #avianinfluenza #H5N1, an 11 year old girl that died and another member of her family, @SCBriand just said in a @WHO press conference. Field investigations are going on, she said. @WHO @SCBriand The second case is presumably her father.
Feb 21 14 tweets 15 min read
When I talked to @BrendaCrabtreeR a few days ago about #mpox she told me the story of a patient she helped to treat in Mexico City in June: a man in his 30s who did not know that he was also living with HIV.

science.org/content/articl… @BrendaCrabtreeR The young man’s immune system was so weak it could not keep the monkeypox virus in check. He had painful necrotizing lesions spreading across his skin and the virus had spread to his lungs too. “He just kept getting worse and worse and worse,” @BrendaCrabtreeR told me.
Feb 17 8 tweets 2 min read
There has been a spate of travellers returning from Cabo Verde recently infected with the bacterium Shigella sonnei.
“Most cases have stayed in five-star, all-inclusive hotels in the Santa Maria region of the island Sal”, @ECDC_EU writes in a risk assessment it just published. The report notes 258 cases (see table). “The most recent cases were reported in Sweden on 19 January 2023, suggesting an ongoing moderate risk of new infections among travellers in Cabo Verde, particularly among those staying in the Santa Maria region of Sal.”
Feb 15 4 tweets 4 min read
Marburg outbreak in Equatorial Guinea stands at 9 deaths (1 confirmed as Marburg, 8 suspected), 16 suspected cases in health facilities and 21 asymptomatic contacts being monitored at home, says @drtedros in @WHO presser. @DrTedros @WHO The outbreak is in the border region with Gabon and Cameroon.
"So far, no confirmed cases have been reported in Cameroon or Gabon", says @DrTedros. "But WHO is working with the Ministry of Health of Cameroon to investigate an alert in that country."
Feb 9 4 tweets 6 min read
Es hat ne Weile gedauert, aber wir sind endlich wieder da mit @pandemiapodcast!
Neues Logo, neue Musik, alte Crew und wie immer tolle Themen und Gäste:
Dieses Mal geht es um #longcovid, #Vogelgrippe #H5N1 und neue #Impfstoffe

superelektrik.de/pandemia/updat… @pandemiapodcast Vielen Dank an @C_Scheibenbogen, @florian_krammer, @CorneliaBetsch, @PeacockFlu, Mitchell Warren und vor allem an @marga_owski, die uns einen Einblick in ihr Leben mit #longcovid gewährt hat...
Feb 9 4 tweets 2 min read
Malawi is experiencing the deadliest cholera outbreak in its history with more than 36.000 cases and 1210 deaths.
"With a sharp increase of cases seen over the last month, fears are that the outbreak will continue to worsen without strong interventions."

who.int/emergencies/di… Tropical storm Ana (Jan 22) and Cyclone Gombe (Mar 22) caused flooding, displaced people and led to the outbreak. "This outbreak, which was initially limited to the Southern Region and the flood-affected areas, has now spread to all the regions and districts in the country"
Feb 3 9 tweets 5 min read
The new #mpox situation report ist out from @WHO and it has some interesting data:

Overall 85,449 cases and 89 deaths have been reported globally since the outbreak started last year.

who.int/publications/m… @WHO In the past two weeks 716 cases and 9 deaths were reported.

Most of these cases are in the Americas as are all the deaths (5 in the US, 3 in Peru, 1 in Brazil).

Here is a breakdown of cases for the past week: