SANE: Search for an Attenuated Natural Strain by Epidemiology as COVID-19 Solution | Daniel Tillett


Daniel Tillett speaks on the Search for an Attenuated Natural [strain] by Epidemiology, or SANE as a possible solution to COVID-19. From his recent article (

“SARS-CoV-2 like all viruses mutates (changes) over time. Many of these genetic changes are small (single nucleotides) that are not important to the replications or transmission of the virus from person to person, but they can be used to identify the origin of the virus. DeCODE genetics for example has been testing Icelanders for COVID-19 and genome sequencing the SARS-CoV-2 strains isolated. They (and others) have found two very important pieces of information: 1.) More than 50% of the people infected with SARS-CoV-2 are asymptomatic or have only a mild case (i.e. they have no serious illness). 2.) They can identify the geographical origin of the strains by the genetic differences (mutations) between the different strains. Furthermore, researchers in China have identified a mutant strain of SARS-CoV-2 which appears to be less pathogenic than most strains infecting people. This data suggests a simple and testable hypothesis – there are natural strains of SARS-CoV-2 in the world that have mutated to be non-pathogenic (asymptomatic or mild), but which are still infective and will provide immunity to the more pathogenic (deadly) strains. If we can find one of these non-pathogenic viral strains out in the wild we could give it to everyone in the world and solve our diabolic problem. This non-pathogenic (attenuated) strain would act much like the live attenuated (oral) polio vaccine.” We discuss a proposal for how to find the strain.

Daniel Tillett ( I am a founder and the CEO of Nucleics – an Australian biotechnology company focused on the development of software tools that improve DNA sequencing and genomics. I am also the CSO and a Director of Race Oncology – an ASX listed biotechnology company bring back to market the lost chemotherapeutic drug Bisantrene. I have been a tenured academic (Senior Lecturer) within the School of Pharmacy and Applied Science at La Trobe University, Australia teaching and researching in the areas of phage therapy (bacterial virology), pharmacy, environmental microbiology, bioinformatics and cancer.

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