Francesco Broccolo is a virologist, researcher and associate professor of clinical microbiology at the Bicocca University. At the beginning of March in front of the first restrictive measures he had used a metaphor: «The Coronavirus is like a tsunami – his words – with the restrictive measures we raised a wall of 20 meters, but if the wave will be 25, it will inevitably hit people more fragile ».
Professor, have we done enough?
The virus has not changed genetically and we cannot hope for less virulence, but with the measures taken, the chain of contagion has drastically reduced. According to the journal Nature, the measures adopted in Italy have been the most stringent in the world, we must not blame ourselves for anything. Citizens have committed themselves, the use of masks and distancing have been the right tools to curb the pandemic.
And now everyone free?
The climatic conditions help us because with the heat the virus resists less on the surfaces and its viral load is lower. It is right that there are reopenings, it would not be economically sustainable to extend the lockdown to reach zero infections. I would add that it would not be sustainable even for health, I think of the psychological problems that have already emerged, the children who are afraid of leaving the house and have adapted to a home-style lifestyle, to sedentary life that is not good to anyone, to elderly or chronic persons who have no longer carried out control visits or evaluations of therapies.
How should we manage Phase 2?
There are practices that do not go well with our daily life, it is difficult to think of sitting at a restaurant or a coffee, avoiding the risk of an infection. Serological tests allow us, in the workplace, to isolate asymptomatic cases, for bars and restaurants it is better to choose outdoor tables.
What are the places most at risk?
All places closed because the infection occurs with very close and prolonged contact. This is demonstrated by the high number of infections between doctors and patients or within families. Indoor restaurants, shopping malls, trains and other means of transport are high-risk places. It is important that they are disinfected with powerful ozone-based aerosols every evening and even better hydrogen peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, an ecological solution capable of killing the virus in 30 seconds.
Better to live outdoors?
Absolutely yes, in Monza I would recommend going to the park without gatherings and with a mask, just as I think we can walk in the mountains or go to the beach with the right precautions this summer. In the summer there are fewer forms of cooling with sneezing that can help spread the virus, it’s another factor to keep in mind.
Is there a risk that the virus will recur in the fall?
We understand that it is a virus that can persist for a long time in humans. There are cases of people who are positive even after 50 days, they are what we call a reservoir. We do not yet know whether between summer and autumn the virus will be able to resist in some subjects, if it will not be totally eradicated it is possible that it will recur. We must be careful, but we have made progress and we now have diagnostic tests that allow us to isolate an outbreak.
How long should we wait for the vaccine?
One year. The simplest vaccine that uses the virus itself in formalin has already been evaluated on macaques and has had a very powerful response, but the various stages must be passed before being injected into humans.
How does research move in Bicocca University?
A task force has been created that brings together different skills between the faculties of medicine and surgery and biotechnology to evaluate in vitro the effectiveness of existing drugs and new molecules that could help block the virus. We have also analyzed some of the serological tests on the market, there are over 200 of them and they should all be analyzed to understand their reliability.
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