After a pair of Italian doctors said the coronavirus is losing its potency, the World Health Organization cautioned that the virus is still deadly and the notion that it’s “losing potency” is not true.
“We need to be exceptionally careful that we are not creating a sense that all of a sudden the virus has decided to be less pathogenic. That is not the case at all,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program, said during a press conference, according to CNBC.
Ryan’s remarks come after Alberto Zangrillo, the head of the San Raffael Hospital in Milan, said that the virus has weakened from where it is today compared to two months ago, Reuters reported.
“In reality, the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy,” Zangrillo told RAI television, according to Reuters.
He added: “The swabs that were performed over the last 10 days showed a viral load in quantitative terms that was absolutely infinitesimal compared to the ones carried out a month or two months ago.”
Matteo Bassetti, the head of the infectious disease clinic at the San Martino hospital in Genoa, said he’s also seen the virus weaken.
“The strength the virus had two months ago is not the same strength it has today,” Bassetti said. “It is clear that today the COVID-19 disease is different.”
WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said that Zangrillo’s remarks were not based on scientific evidence, Reuters reported.
“In terms of transmissibility, that has not changed, in terms of severity, that has not changed,” Van Kerkhove said, according to the report.
More than 6 million confirmed cases of the virus have been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, resulting in at least 373,000 deaths. The United States has the highest number of cases in the world, with almost 1.8 million reported.