CNBC reports Alberto Zangrillo, Director of Milan's San Raffaele Hospital, announced that studies at their hospital reveal that the coronavirus is weakening. “The swabs performed over the last 10 days show a viral load in quantitative terms that was absolutely infinitesimal compared to the ones carried out a month or two months ago.”
Massimo Clementi, director of the Microbiology and Virology Laboratory at the hospital, says an analysis of 200 patients suggests the virus has “enormously weakened.” “We've got to get back to being a normal country. Previous epidemics such as MERS and SARS petered out by themselves. We've got to be wary, yes, but not kill ourselves unnecessarily. Our wards are emptying out.”
Matteo Bassetti, the head of the infectious diseases clinic at San Martino hospital in Genoa, told Italy’s ANSA news agency he is seeing the same trend. “The strength the virus had two months ago is not the same strength it has today. It is clear that today the COVID-19 disease is different.”
To be clear there is strong push back from other scientists.Allan Cheng, an infectious diseases physician at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne, Australia, said, “We haven’t noticed any difference in viral loads in people we’ve tested.”
Oscar MacLean, of the MRC-University of Glasgow Center for Virus Research adds "The vast majority of SARS-CoV-2 mutations are extremely rare, and so whilst some infections may be attenuated by certain mutations, they are highly unlikely to be common enough to alter the nature of the virus at a national or global level".
200 patients is a pretty small sample but let's hope that Italy, which was one of the first to go into this pandemic, is also one of the first to detect this change.