Global experts go head-to-head over claims the coronavirus ‘no longer exists clinically’

The molecular biology laboratory of Cannizzaro Hospital in Catania throughout the evaluation of organic samples to detect the presence of Covid-19 on May 22, 2020 in Catania, Italy.

Fabrizio Villa

A really public dispute has damaged out between a few of Italy’s, and the world’s, most high-profile medical doctors after one professional claimed the coronavirus “no longer exists clinically.”

Dr. Alberto Zangrillo, the head of intensive care at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan in Lombardy (the epicenter of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak), triggered a stir on Sunday by telling Italian media {that a} examine by his colleague had proven that the virus was shedding its efficiency.

Zangrillo, who’s well-known for being the private physician of Italy’s former President Silvio Berlusconi, mentioned the examine confirmed the virus was weakening and that, “in reality, from the clinical point of view, the virus no longer exists.”

“The swabs that were performed over the last 10 days showed a viral load in quantitative terms that was absolutely infinitesimal compared to the ones carried out on patients a month or two ago,” he advised RAI tv Sunday, citing a examine from Massimo Clementi, director of the Microbiology and Virology Laboratory at the San Raffaele hospital, that’s reportedly attributable to be revealed shortly.

The feedback prompted a swift rebuke from Franco Locatelli, the head of Italy’s high well being advisory physique, the supreme well being council.

“I can only express great surprise and absolute bewilderment for the statements made by Professor Zangrillo. Just look at the number of new cases confirmed every day to have evidence of the persistent circulation of the virus in Italy,” Italian information company ANSA reported Monday.

The controversy over the feedback comes at a fragile time for Italy, the place Europe’s coronavirus outbreak was first detected again in February. Lockdown measures are being lifted all through the nation with a lot of public life reopened. On Wednesday, inter-regional journey can be allowed to renew. To date, Italy has reported 233,197 confirmed instances of the virus and 33,475 deaths. Globally, the virus has contaminated greater than 6.2 million folks and a minimum of 375,000 folks have died, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University.

The authorities waded in to the argument on Monday, with one official stating that Zangrillo’s feedback have been harmful at a time when warning is essential.

“Pending scientific evidence to support the thesis that the virus has disappeared … I would invite those who say they are sure of it not to confuse Italians,” Sandra Zampa, an undersecretary at the well being ministry, mentioned in a press release, Reuters reported.

“When we are about to open travel between regions and return to a life as normal as possible … we must invite the Italians to be extremely careful,” she mentioned.

Experts vs. experts

The World Health Organization additionally warned Monday that the virus had not instantly turn out to be much less deadly. “This is still a killer virus,” Michael Ryan, government director of the WHO’s well being emergencies program, advised a digital press briefing on Monday.

“We need to be exceptionally careful not to create a sense that, all of a sudden, the virus, by its own volition, has now decided to be less pathogenic. That is not the case at all.” Ryan mentioned the WHO would want to take a look at the findings in additional element and mentioned the outcomes, and severity of sickness, might be decided by a person’s degree of publicity to the virus.

“It may not be the case that the virus is becoming less potent, it may be the case that we are, as a community and as a globe, are successfully reducing the number, intensity and frequency of exposure to that virus, which then on the face of it, then looks weaker.”

Zangrillo just isn’t the solely physician to consider that the virus is weakening, nonetheless.

Matteo Bassetti, the director of the infectious illnesses clinic of the San Martino hospital in Genoa additionally mentioned Monday that the virus is not any longer the similar, primarily based on his expertise. The virus “may now be different: the firepower it had two months ago is not the same firepower it has today,” he mentioned, ANSA reported.

“Currently the new coronavirus is circulating less, that is, the viral load in circulation among the population has diminished and this is the effect of both the lockdown and the measures still in place such as use of the masks and distancing.”

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