Infectious Thoughts

Reflections from the rollercoaster, one year after my first collaboration with Toby Morris

Siouxsie Wiles Mar 09, 2021

Today is a bit of a momentous day for me. It’s the one-year anniversary of the Spinoff publishing the first animation Toby Morris and I created together. You might remember it. It was called Flatten the curve and was based on a picture I’d seen shared on Twitter. I thought the concept was really important – that we should try … Read More

Your questions on the latest NZ Covid cases, answered

Siouxsie Wiles Feb 16, 2021

Three new community cases of Covid-19 and an unknown source have plunged Auckland into lockdown and the rest of the country into alert level two. Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles tackles some of the critical questions we now face. Could we be looking at a situation as worrying as last August in Auckland? Yes. Like in August, it isn’t clear yet how … Read More

What do we know about Covid transmission via pipes and ventilation?

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 29, 2021

Is it plausible that the new cases contracted in the Pullman hotel in Auckland were transmitted via pipes? Here’s what the science tells us. As the investigation to determine how three people became infected with Covid-19 during their stay in New Zealand’s managed isolation and quarantine system gets away, it is worth considering a few studies published recently that point … Read More

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