Of Italy’s 21 regions (Italy has actually 20 regions, but for Covid-19 computations Trentino Alto-Adige has been split into two), at the moment 9 have zero new contagions, in 11 the new contagions are from 1 to 19, and the only exception is Lombardy with 237 new positive cases. No new death in 12 regions.

Intensive therapy units are also gradually emptying.

The fire is going out

Even in Lombardy, the spread has decreased. Fabrizio Pregliasco, virologist of the University of Milan, said: “We also have a positive trend on the data in Lombardy, Liguria and Piedmont. There is still a residual circulation in Lombardy, but reduced. We are facing a fire that is slowly going out after a huge conflagration. I am also optimistic about the green light to movement of people between regions enforced today, but always with vigilant serenity”.

Another scientist, Professor Massimo Clementi, director of the Laboratory of Microbiology and Virology at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, has made positive comments, to the effect that “today we find fewer viruses in infections”. He went on to say: “It could have been the effect of the lockdown, it could also be the effect of the change of season and of ultraviolet radiation, but even this does not explain everything”.

Professor Clementi had already reported that “few patients and all with mild symptoms” had arrived at the San Raffaele in the last few weeks, and that the replicative capacity of the virus in May appears “enormously” weakened compared to that of the past few months.

Clementi, who has studied the novel coronavirus since February, observed that the infection from Sars-CoV-2 has changed.

That clinical observation was a starting point. “So we began to ask ourselves why and with a study we found such a noticeable difference in the viral loads of the swabs – lower than in the first half of March – to be considered very significant.”

The pilot study, conducted with the participation of Guido Silvestri of Emory University of Atlanta in Georgia, USA, and based on the analysis of 200 samples taken with nasopharyngeal swabs from patients of the San Raffaele, will be continued with more centres and patients.

Explained Clementi: “We have compared the previous viral load in the samples taken with the swab and the results are extraordinary”. The virologist went so far as to say that “we are facing a different disease” than we had at the beginning. “The gap is abysmal.”

The virus variant isolated in Brescia is less aggressive

Finally, a variant of Sars-CoV-2 virus described as “extremely less powerful”, more benign, was isolated in the Microbiology Laboratory of the Asst Spedali Civili of Brescia, in Lombardy, directed by the president of the Italian Society of Virology (Siv-Isv), Professor Arnaldo Caruso.

He announced that the Brescia variant presents “significant mutations” compared to that of the Sars-CoV-2 viruses sequenced in the “hottest” months of the Covid-19 epidemic.

The mutant coronavirus was isolated from a swab that had a very high viral load even though it came from a completely asymptomatic patient. The laboratory examination also showed that if the most aggressive Sars-CoV-2 took 2-3 days to exterminate all the target cells available in a culture in vitro, the new Brescia variant requires at least 6 days only to start attacking them.

The “good” variant of the new coronavirus is not only apparently new in pathogenicity or viral fitness, being “extremely less aggressive”, but is also “genetically very different”. That is, its RNA shows “significant mutations” compared to the Sars-CoV-2 viruses sequenced months ago.

Caruso, who is Professor of Microbiology and Clinical Microbiology at the University of Brescia, in fact said that “we can report having obtained a highly reliable complete sequence”.

Holland Allows Travel to Italy and Other Countries

To end on a lighter note, from 15 June the Dutch will be able to travel to Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Italy, and to the Dutch territories in the Caribbean, announced Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, adding that Austria, France, Spain and Switzerland will be next.

Foto di Nikhil Kurian da Pixabay