Science

Spallanzani managed to isolate the coronavirus: what does it really mean?

Being able to isolate and sequence the virus will be of great help for the development of a potential coronavirus vaccine. Recall, however, that it is not the first time

coronavirus spallanzani
The institute for infectious diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani (photo: Andreas Solaro / Afp via Getty Images)

An important step has also been taken in Italy to understand the new coronavirus . At the National Institute of Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome, where the first ones were hospitalized two patients affected by the coronavirus in our country, the researchers managed to isolate and sequence the 2019 – nCoV , responsible for epidemic that has reached over 17 thousand cases of contagion and 362 deaths, thus making an important step towards the realization of a effective vaccine (we specify from the outset that they were neither the only nor the first to succeed in the venture).

The announcement was made during a press conference by the Minister of Health and the scientific director of IMI Giuseppe Ippolito . “An important step for the whole scientific community which will allow to accelerate research on this disease. Italy has one of the best health services in the world and today has shown it again “, reported Speranza. “Now the data will be available to the international community. Spaces are opening for new diagnostic tests and vaccines. Italy becomes the reference point for this research “, added Ippolito.

Although many newspapers have spoken of great Italian business, it should be noted that it is not a world premiere . Already the Chinese researchers had managed to identify and sequence the new virus. Not only that: as we had told you, the isolation and sequencing had also been carried out by researchers from the Pasteur Institute , in Franca, and by Australian researchers Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity from Melbourne, who were a few days ago they managed to grow a version of the new Chinese virus in the laboratory. The first to have been recreated outside of China . The team of researchers then shared their sample, recreated from an infected patient, with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the hope of further accelerating the process of developing potential vaccines.

Having isolated the coronavirus is however a fundamental step for the research, as it will allow you to understand if you are editing. Knowing the virus , therefore, will allow not only to carry out diagnostic tests and test drugs capable of treating it, but also to develop vaccines that are effective. “ The viral isolation , carried out also in Italy by Spallanzani it allows to sequence the virus and compare it with the strains already isolated also in China and outside China in countries like France and Australia to evaluate any mutations “, explains Giovanni Rezza director of the Infectious Diseases Department of the ISS. “In general, isolating the virus can help develop diagnostic methods, test the effectiveness of known antiviral molecules and identify and enhance any weak points. of the virus in order to allow the development of therapeutic strategies and identify any vaccine targets “.

According to the latest bulletin published by Spallanzani, the clinical conditions of the Chinese couple positive to coronavirus infection are continuously monitored and are discrete. As regards the 20 people who have had contact with them continue to be monitored, but they are all in good general condition and their health is not a concern. They are currently hospitalized 23 patients from areas of China affected by the epidemic.

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