The Molecular Biology Laboratory of the Cannizzaro Hospital in Catania during the analysis of biological samples for the detection of the presence of Covid-19 on May 22, 2020 in Catania, Italy.
A very public dispute has erupted between some of Italy’s best-known doctors and the world after an expert claimed that the coronavirus “no longer exists clinically”.
Dr. Alberto Zangrillo, head of the intensive care unit of the San Raffaele hospital in Milan, Lombardy (the epicenter of the outbreak of the Italian coronavirus), caused a stir on Sunday when he told Italian media that a study by his colleague had shown that the virus had been lost its effectiveness goes down.
Zangrillo, known as the personal doctor of former Italian President Silvio Berlusconi, said the study showed that the virus had become weaker and that “from a clinical point of view, the virus actually no longer exists”.
“The smears performed in the past 10 days showed a quantitative viral load that was absolutely infinitesimal compared to that performed on patients a month or two ago.” he told RAI television Sundayciting a study by Massimo Clementi, director of the microbiology and virology laboratory at San Raffaele Hospital, which is reported to be published shortly.
The comments prompted a quick reprimand from Franco Locatelli, the head of Italy’s highest health advisory body, the Supreme Health Council.
“I can only express great surprise and absolute confusion about Professor Zangrillo’s statements. Just look at the number of new cases confirmed daily to see evidence of the continued spread of the virus in Italy.” The Italian news agency ANSA reported on Monday.
The controversy over the comments comes at a delicate time for Italy, where the outbreak of the European corona virus was already detected in February. The blockade is being lifted across the country and much of public life is reopening. Interregional travel may resume on Wednesday. To date, Italy has reported 233,197 confirmed cases of the virus and 33,475 deaths. The virus has infected more than 6.2 million people worldwide and at least 375,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The government interfered in the dispute on Monday, and an official said that Zangrillo’s comments were dangerous at a time when caution was crucial.
“Until there is scientific evidence to support the thesis that the virus is gone … I would like to invite those who are sure not to confuse Italians,” said Sandra Zampa, Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Health, in a statement, Reuters reported.
“If we are going to open journeys between regions and return to a life as normal as possible … we have to invite the Italians to be extremely careful,” she said.
Experts versus experts
The World Health Organization also warned on Monday that the virus hadn’t suddenly become less lethal. “This is still a killer virus” Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Program, said a virtual press conference on Monday.
“We have to be extremely careful not to create the feeling that the virus has suddenly decided to be less pathogenic. This is not the case at all.” Ryan said WHO needed to examine the results more closely and said the results and severity of the disease could be determined by a person’s exposure to the virus.
“The virus may not become less effective, it may be that we as a community and globally successfully reduce the number, intensity, and frequency of exposure to this virus, which continues.” the face then looks weaker. ”
However, Zangrillo is not the only doctor who believes the virus is getting weaker.
Matteo Bassetti, director of the clinic for infectious diseases at the San Martino hospital in Genoa, also said Monday that the virus is no longer the same based on his experience. The virus “can now be different: the firepower it had two months ago is not the same firepower it has today,” he said, ANSA.
“The new corona virus is currently circulating less, ie the viral load in the population has decreased. This is due to both the blocking and the measures that still exist, such as the use of masks and the removal.”
This article originally appeared on www.cnbc.com