Thursday, June 25, 2020

CV Becoming Less Virulent: Israeli Researchers Conducting Genome Analysis

Kinder COVID? Israeli lab probing whether virus mutating to become less vicious

Israeli researchers have started carrying out genome analysis to test whether the novel coronavirus is changing to become less vicious.
Evolutionary virologist Adi Stern told The Times of Israel that she has been tasked by the Health Ministry with conducting an analysis of dozens of samples from recent coronavirus patients, and comparing them to old samples.
“The hypothesis is that the virus has attenuated, which means it’s become less virulent, and there may be a genetic signal that shows this,” she said, adding that she was sequencing the genome of the virus in recent infections and contrasting it with samples from March.

Stern, who runs a Tel Aviv University virus lab, said that if this proves correct, it could explain why a smaller proportion of COVID-19 patients today end up being hospitalized in serious condition. It would have a major impact on the way governments and doctors plan for the rest of the pandemic, she commented, adding that the analysis will take several more weeks.

As Israel is getting underway with the research, an Italian doctor has been making headlines with claims that the virus is becoming gentler.

Bassetti, the chief of infectious diseases at San Martino General Hospital in Genoa, said: “Even elderly patients, aged 80 or 90, are now sitting up in bed and they are breathing without help. The same patients would have died in two or three days, before.”

In Israeli hospitals, there are some similar suggestions.
“The disease is losing its virulence by mutation,” the leading infectious diseases specialist David Greenberg told The Times of Israel.

New COVID-19 Cases Soar, But New Deaths Decline As Younger Patients Recover

Carrie Sheffield ,

Even though new coronavirus infections are rising in America and around the world, new coronavirus deaths are largely flat, a trend largely missing from most mainstream media coverage.
Experts say the fact that new coronavirus deaths appear to remain flat is driven by more younger patients getting infected and recovering amid reopenings as the worst of the pandemic passes. 

"Across the United States," reported the Post, "more than 36,000 new infections were reported by state health departments on Wednesday — surpassing the previous single-day record of 34,203 set on April 25."
Yet the article failed to mention that even while new infections are on the rise, new COVID-19 deaths are not. 
This vital information gap in the media is causing some health policy experts to worry that fear about the coronavirus — evidenced, for example, by Wednesday's sharp stock market drop — is not founded in facts, particularly about how the virus disparately impacts different age groups. The spreading of unfounded alarm, the experts fear, could risk deep harm to Americans' livelihoods and mental health due to a prolonged, widespread shutdown. 
The coronavirus has ravaged elderly populations in nursing homes and those with underlying comorbidities, but now the virus appears to be striking those who are younger and healthier and more able to withstand the disease and return to life normally. 
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine professor Dr. William Schaffner, who specializes in preventive medicine and infectious diseases, noted in an interview with Just the News that for example, in Florida, reports indicate that it is middle-aged and younger adults now being hit with COVID-19. 


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