Prof Matteo Bassetti, head of the infectious diseases clinic at the Policlinico San Martino hospital in Italy, told The Telegraph that Covid-19 has been losing its virulence in the last month and patients who would have previously died are now recovering.
[Editor’s note: Some health experts are suggesting the newest versions of the coronavirus are less lethal, suggesting it could die out on its own.]
The expert in critical care said the plummeting number of cases could mean a vaccine is no longer needed as the virus might never return.
“The clinical impression I have is that the virus is changing in severity,” said Prof Bassetti.
“In March and early April the patterns were completely different.”
“Now, in the past four weeks, the picture has completely changed in terms of patterns. There could be a lower viral load in the respiratory tract, probably due to a genetic mutation in the virus which has not yet been demonstrated scientifically.”
However, Dr Bharat Pankhania, a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School and a former Public Health England consultant, said the idea that Covid-19 would die out is “optimistic in the short term”.
“It will if it has no one to infect. If we have a successful vaccine then we’ll be able to do what we did with smallpox. But because it’s so infectious and widespread, it won’t go away for a very long time.