Italian doctors have made a breakthrough in the international battle against the deadly Coronavirus by isolating the sequence of the disease, allowing scientists to study the virus and accelerating the possibility of developing the vaccine.
Three virologists, all women, from Rome’s Spallanzani hospital for treating infectious diseases, were responsible for the breakthrough, which follows similar results in France and Australia.
Doctors Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, Francesca Colavita and Concetta Castilletti say that the discovery will allow medics “to refine existing diagnostic methods and establish new ones” as well as being able to ascertain quickly if a person is infected or not.
Stating that Italy has become an international “reference point” in tackling Coronavirus, the Spallanzani scientific director Giuseppe Ippolito said that the new data would be “made available to the entire international community.”
Italian premier Giuseppe Conte took to Twitter to hail the breakthrough in Rome: “Italy among the first countries in the world to have isolated coronavirus. Very important news for the development of treatments. A big applause to researchers and medical staff from Spallanzani. Proud of our National Health Service, among the best in the world”.
The news comes as Italy’s foreign ministry prepares to airlift Italian citizens stuck in the central Wuhan region of China, the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak, on 3 February.
Italy is also making efforts to repatriate the roughly 3,000 Chinese tourists stranded in Italy following the suspension of flights to China.
Medical screening at Italian airports has been extended to passengers arriving from China on non-direct flights as the Coronavirus death count surpasses 300 with around 14,300 cases in China.
Agenzia di stampa