Director @UGI_at_UCL. Militant corona-centrist

Where snow is powdery and deep
Joined April 2019
There is understandable concern about the genomic evolution of SARSCoV2, and just the term 'mutation' can feel scary. Partly to alleviate such fears and more generally to provide an overview of the current situation, we wrote a review. 1/ sciencedirect.com/science/ar…
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"𝑆𝐴𝑅𝑆-𝐶𝑜𝑉-2 𝑖𝑠 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑎 𝑛𝑒𝑢𝑟𝑜𝑡𝑟𝑜𝑝𝑖𝑐 𝑣𝑖𝑟𝑢𝑠" may be the ultimate magic formula to summon the Covid cranks and trolls from under their rocks. It's a pity it can't easily be translated into Latin for 𝑚𝑎𝑔𝑖𝑠 𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑣𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑠.
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I'll stand with you to the end of the pandemic ... and probably beyond.
Well I for one will not be giving up my corona centrist card just yet.
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Prof Francois Balloux retweeted
Update for Switzerland, 8 January Compared to unvaccinated, the COVID mortality rate is: • Divided by 13 after full vaccination • Divided by 165 after full vaccination & booster I don't think it'll get clearer than this. From our post with @maxcroser: ourworldindata.org/covid-dea…
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By far my biggest regret during the pandemic is that Covid vaccines were sold to the public as transmission-blocking, which, everyone should have known from the beginning wouldn't likely be the case. 1/
Moderna Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks warns on #AxiosOnHBO to not "over-interpret" vaccine results: "They do not show that they prevent you from potentially carrying this virus...and infecting others." Adding, we shouldn't "change behaviors solely on the basis of vaccination."
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This messaging has led to immense disappointment and confusion, and has fuelled - some largely understandable - vaccine hesitancy. This has been a public health fiasco given how effective Covid vaccines are at protecting against serious disease and death. 2/
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Spreading untruths, however well-intended, tends to backfire in public health, and in life more generally. It is particularly problematic when untruths are spread by those in a position of authority. 3/
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While I never believed Covid vaccines would be transmission-blocking and appreciated antibody titres in the blood would wane fairly rapidly, I admit I overestimated their ability to reduce viral transmission initially, probably because I wanted it to be true ... 4/
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I only started publicly voicing my views about covid vaccines being primarily protective of oneself rather than others in mid-2021. This was deemed an unacceptable view before, and even then, it wasn't overly well received by many colleagues (😬). 5/
The successive emergence of the more transmissible alpha and delta SARCoV2 lineages mean that the vast majority of the global population is expected to get infected by the virus, likely more than once over their lifetime. sciencedirect.com/science/ar… 1/
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Prof Francois Balloux retweeted
Looking again at ONS prevalence vs daily reported cases in England. At top level they track surprisingly well, ratio of ~3 between 10 day rolling case rate and the prevalence.(i.e., ascertainment of ~33% on the 10-day assumption). Qs: Will it continue & is it true for all? (1/6)
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SARSCoV2 is a nasty virus but it is not neurotropic, and it doesn't tend to be found in the brain, except in very severe - generally lethal - infections of patients treated with steroids. 1/
Of course children need masks. COVID is not a cold. It is a neurotropic virus, can go into the brain and lots of other organs. 1000 children dead in US, millions of kids w/ #LongCovidKids, millions have lost parents. Wearing mask is not hard for kids, they forget about it.
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Please see:
Challenge accepted! let's try to start studying up on covid together. I suggest we first go through some of the arguments for or against SARCoV2 being a neurotropic virus. 1/
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Someone actually carefully read the recent paper about covid infecting every organ. You don't have to - it's not a straightforward paper - if you read @andrew_croxford's thread, which provides an excellent summary and the background information needed to understand the results.
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There's been some 'Covid variant' twitter chatter about BA.2 (a sub-lineage of Omicron) caused by scary looking NextStrain trees suggesting it had recently acquired a large number of additional mutations. The problem seems to be largely fixed now (see below; 21K=BA.1; 21L=BA.2).
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This study on 44,672 confirmed Covid cases by the Chinese CDC up to Feb 11, 2020 gave us all we needed to know about its relative age-stratified risk. The data has been available since (but published in Dec 2020). The paper has been tweeted 3 times ... weekly.chinacdc.cn/en/articl…
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Sorry wrong link ... I delete and repost
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A reminder that whilst Covid vaccines only marginally reduce infection and onward transmission, they dramatically reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death.
Update: Switzerland now reports deaths by booster status. Compared to unvaccinated people, the COVID mortality rate is: • 9x lower after full vaccination • 48x lower after a booster [From our post with @maxcroser on death rates by vaccination status: ourworldindata.org/covid-dea…]
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This clip is extraordinary. I watched it three times. The first time, it just felt inane, the third time sinister and disturbing. There is no room for debate over whether illegal immigrants and asylum seekers should be offered Covid vaccines. Period.
Biden administration again debating whether to provide COVID vaccines for asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants @priscialva discusses
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5/32 (16%) mustelids (2 pine martens & 3 badgers) tested seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 in Brittany (France), suggesting fairly high local prevalence in wild mustelids. The only previously known SARS-CoV-2 animal reservoir is in white-tailed deer in the US. biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/…
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