Infectious Thoughts

How worried should we be about these new Covid-19 mutations?

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 26, 2021

The new Northland case has been linked to the South African strain of Covid-19, one of a number of new, more contagious Covid variants. Here’s how they emerge and why. Let’s start with the basics. The genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for Covid-19 is a strand of RNA made up of almost 30,000 nucleotides. Those nucleotides – adenine, … Read More

The Plan B implosion – what Brazil teaches us about the herd immunity hogwash

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 18, 2021

As families around the world mourn more than two million people dead from Covid-19, the Plan B academics and their PR industry collaborator continue to argue that the New Zealand government should stop focusing on our managed isolation and quarantine system and instead protect the elderly so that they can reopen the border and allow everyone else to get on … Read More

Just how worrying is the new Covid-19 strain for Britain – and the rest of us?

Siouxsie Wiles Dec 21, 2020

Let’s start with the basics. The genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for Covid-19 is a strand of RNA made up of almost 30,000 nucleotides. These are code for the amino acids that in turn give us the proteins that make up the virus. Each time the virus enters a new cell and replicates, its genetic material is copied, … Read More

Aches on a plane – new findings on in-flight Covid transmission

Siouxsie Wiles Nov 24, 2020

One of the good things about New Zealand pursuing an elimination strategy for Covid-19 (aside from the obvious) is that we are able to help answer some of the questions there are about how the SARS-CoV-2 virus transmits between people. Take air travel. As many people in the US start to head off around the country to spend Thanksgiving with … Read More

What is the Covid-19 ‘triangle’?

Siouxsie Wiles Aug 31, 2020

Since this pandemic started, I’ve been getting lots of messages from people and hearing an awful lot of pundits who sum up Covid-19 as a simple case of virus vs person, with a binary outcome: the infected person either lives or dies. If only it were that simple, but there’s more to it than just the microbe against its unfortunate … Read More

Why Covid elimination remains the best game-plan for NZ

Siouxsie Wiles Aug 25, 2020

Here in Aotearoa, we’re playing Covid-19 in “elimination” mode. Some countries are trying “suppression” mode, while others are running with what seems like “survival-of-the-fittest/wealthiest” mode. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been getting messages from people who don’t think our elimination game-plan is going to work. Some of them point to the fact we are currently experiencing an outbreak. Others … Read More