Press review

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Italy sequences entire genome of coronavirus in different patients to distinguish strains

Country : Italy, China

Keywords :
MILAN, 6 Mar (APM) - Italy's national health institute, Istituto Nazionale di Sanità (ISS), has sequenced the entire genome of two patients infected with the coronavirus, one from China and the other from Lombardy, with the aim of distinguishing different strains, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Monday.
The paper published the full announcement made by the institute, which is the national body entrusted with validating all infections in the country and coordinating scientific research.
It said that sequencing provides the entire genetic code of the Sars-Cov-2 virus and will allow changes in time and space to be tracked. "This is useful for knowing and following epidemic outbreaks and for investigating the structure of the virus itself," ISS said.
The laboratories of the ISS and the scientific department of the Policlinico Militare Celio in Rome compared the sequenced virus from each patient with each other and with the Wuhan reference strain as well as with some other isolated and sequenced strains in Europe.
"A first analysis shows a close similarity between the viral strain of the Chinese patient hospitalised in Rome and the Chinese reference viral strain of Wuhan, highlighting the Chinese origin of the virus," ISS said.
The so-called 'Lombard' viral strain, as well as some strains isolated in other European countries, have a close similarity to the Wuhan virus, with distinguishing mutations not said to amount to different characteristics.
Other analyses are still ongoing to validate the preliminary results and to track any further changes as well as the spread of SarS-Cov-2 virus. A complete sequence of an isolated viral strain in Veneto is also expected to be provided shortly in order to assess links and geographical differences.
The entire sequences of the viral genomes created in the ISS and Policlinico Militare Celio laboratories are being made available to the scientific community, ISS said.

Florence hospitals diverge over Gilead's remdesivir for coronavirus

Two Florence hospitals have disagreed about the utility of treating coronavirus patients with Gilead’s experimental antiviral therapy remdesivir, according to Monday’s La Nazione.
The paper noted that the drug has been used by Rome's Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital which treated two Chinese patients and an Italian one. Remdesivir has also been used for the most seriously ill patients in the north.
But Florence's two biggest hospital are divided over the issue. The infectious diseases ward at the Santa Maria Annunziata hospital on the southern outskirts of the city has applied for compassionate use of the drug.
On the other side of the Tuscan capital, the Careggi hospital has declined to do so. It was quoted as saying: "There is no indication that provides for the treatment of patients with this drug."
La Nazione expressed surprise given that a representative of the World Health Organization has previous described remdesivir as the only drug that is believed to be effective against the virus.
The Santa Maria Annunziata hospital still has not treated a patient with remdesivir because the patient for which it was requested recovered without it. But the hospital says it will definitely use it for the next serious case.
La Nazione called for the hospitals to settle their differences and agree a common line.

Italy now has 3,296 coronavirus infections, deaths rise to 148

The number of people infected with the Coronavirus in Italy as of Thursday evening was 3,296, 590 more than a day earlier, La Repubblica reported on Thursday.
The figures came from the latest bulletin from the national civil protection organisation. More than 1,770 of current infections are in Lombardy, the region where the outbreak is thought to have originated and where it has spread much faster than elsewhere.
Emilia Romagna currently has 658 infections and Veneto 380. The total number of people who have been infected, including those who recovered, has risen to 3,858.
Italian president Sergio Mattarella has expressed confidence that the country has the ability and the resources to deal with the national emergency, La Repubblica reported in the same article.
In a national television broadcast, he called for a united effort and warned against local, autonomous action which might undermine the government's strategy for dealing with the outbreak.

Angelini makes executive appointments

Angelini has made executive appointments in an ongoing reorganisation, About Pharma reported on Wednesday.
Roberto Lombardo, who previously worked for tyre manufacturer Pirelli, is to become head of pharma human resources and organisation. Silvestro Camerini, Angelini's pharma business control director, has been promoted to be the pharma chief financial officer.
On Monday, About Pharma reported that Angelini has also appointed Alessandra Favilli as head of institutional and external relations. It is a new role and reflects the group's desire to be more effective in relations with stakeholders, government agencies, employees and consumers, the company was quoted as saying.
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