By Tony Winterburn • 21 June 2020 • 11:10
One of Italy's Top Scientists Downgrades the Coronavirus From "tiger to a wild cat" !!
Prof Matteo Bassetti, head of the infectious diseases clinic at the Policlinico San Martino hospital in Italy, said that Covid-19 has been losing its virulence in the last month and patients who would have previously died are now recovering, an expert in critical care, he said the plummeting number of cases could mean a vaccine is no longer needed – as the virus might never return.
His comments come after the UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced earlier on Thursday that a deal had been struck between pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University to begin the manufacture of a potential vaccine.
The UK’s chief medical officers have agreed to downgrade the coronavirus alert level from four to three after a “steady” and continuing decrease in cases in all four nations. Localised outbreaks of Covid-19 are still “likely” to occur, the advisers warned, and the virus remains in general circulation. But the downgrading – recommended by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) – means the transmission of coronavirus is no longer considered to be “high or rising exponentially”.
“The clinical impression I have is that the virus is changing in severity,” said Prof Bassetti.
“In March and early April, the patterns were completely different. People were coming to the emergency department with a very difficult to manage illness and they needed oxygen and ventilation, some developed pneumonia.
“Now, in the past four weeks, the picture has completely changed in terms of patterns. There could be a lower viral load in the respiratory tract, probably due to a genetic mutation in the virus which has not yet been demonstrated scientifically. Also, we are now more aware of the disease and able to manage it.
“It was like an aggressive tiger in March and April but now it’s like a wild cat. Even elderly patients, aged 80 or 90, are now sitting up in bed and they are breathing without help. The same patients would have died in two or three days before.
“I think the virus has mutated because our immune system reacts to the virus and we have a lower viral load now due to the lockdown, mask-wearing, social distancing. We still have to demonstrate why it’s different now.
“Yes, probably it could go away completely without a vaccine. We have fewer and fewer people infected and it could end up with the virus dying out.”
However, Dr. Bharat Pankhania, a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School and a former Public Health England consultant, said the idea that Covid-19 would die out is “optimistic in the short term“.
“I don’t expect it to die out that quickly,” he said in a press meeting.
“It will if it has no one to infect. If we have a successful vaccine then we’ll be able to do what we did with smallpox. But because it’s so infectious and widespread, it won’t go away for a very long time.
“My estimate is ranging from never to if we are really lucky and it sort of mutates and mutates, it may lose its virulence – we’re talking years and years. I disagree with Prof Sikora that nirvana is around the corner.”
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