Brescia, isolated a variant of the “extremely less powerful” coronavirus – Chronicle


Coronavirus, analysis laboratory
Brescia, 29 May 2020 – Una variant of Sars-CoV-2 virus “extremely less powerful” it was isolated in Brescia in the Microbiology Laboratory of the Asst Civil Hospitals, directed by Arnaldo Caruso, full professor of Microbiology and Clinical Microbiology at the University of Brescia and president of the Italian Society of Virology (Siv-Isv).

“While I viral strains that we have been used to seeing in recent months, that we have isolated and sequenced, are ‘biological bombs’ capable of exterminating the cells target in 2-3 days – explains Professor Caruso -, this different variant needs to start attacking them minimum of 6 days: twice the usual time. “” The proof that I am losing strength is that every day we see Positive nasopharyngeal swabs with low viral load“says Caruso who continues:” It happened however that one came to our attention with a very high position and it surprised us. An even bigger surprise considering that this subject was completely asymptomatic. We therefore went to isolate the virus, discovering that in culture it was extremely weaker than the previous isolates “.

In summary, Caruso underlines, “by putting it in contact with target cells in vitro, it attacked them in a completely different way than usual Sars-CoV-2. In fact, it needed at least 6 days, against 48-72 hours sufficient for the classic strains to kill all the cells available, to start giving signs of cellular alteration. Attention we do not know yet if and how much this variant circulates, nor if it is genetically different from the others. But we can say that something is happening “; but on this point” it is good to clarify “, warns the virologist who has been on the front line since the beginning of the circulation of Sars-CoV-2 in Italy in the molecular diagnosis is in the gene sequencing of the virus. “The strains that have circulated, with more or less variations between them – he highlights – are attributable to those that have invaded the whole world. We have isolated strains very similar to that of Wuhan, the Chinese megalopolis, the first epicenter of the epidemic , which has had a spike in aggression, and is now waning. ”

Caruso will screen the scientific community i data relating to these isolations. That something is happening at Sars-CoV-2 has already been published in the magazine ‘Emerging Microbes & Infections’ Hong Kong virologists: a study documenting the lower aggressiveness of new variants of Sars-CoV-2 also in animal models. Caruso’s hope is that, as in the past it has happened several times for other viruses, Sars-CoV-2 also tends to attenuate in its pathogenicity. In technical jargon it is called ‘viral fitness’: “The winning virus is the one that best fits and replicates while saving the cell that hosts it”

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