There is no evidence that the novel coronavirus has changed both in terms of the transmissibility and the severity of the disease, said Maria Van Kerkhove, Covid-19 technical lead at the World Health Organization.
The statement came in the wake of the recent media reports, citing Alberto Zangrillo, the head of the San Raffaele Hospital in Italy’s Milan, that the novel coronavirus was losing its potency, while the fatality risk was decreasing.
According to the doctor, a test run over the past 10 days showed that a viral load in quantitative terms was much less compared to the one carried out a month or two months ago.
“In terms of the transmissibility, that has not changed. In terms of the severity that has not changed,” Van Kerkhove said.
Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the world is “losing its ability” to use critically important antimicrobial medicines.
Speaking at a virtual press conference on Monday, the WHO chief said that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increased use of antibiotics, which ultimately will lead to higher bacterial resistance rates, news agency IANS reported.
Calling the threat of antimicrobial resistance “one of the most urgent challenges of our time,” Tedros urged the world to find new models to incentivise sustainable innovation in this regard.
“On the supply side, there is essentially very little market incentive to developing new antibiotics and antimicrobial agents, which has led to multiple market failures of very promising tools in the past few years,” he said.
A press release issued on Monday also showed that high rates of resistance among antimicrobials frequently used to treat common infections, such as urinary tract infections or some forms of diarrhea, indicate that the world is running out of effective ways to tackle these diseases.
“For instance, the rate of resistance to ciprofloxacin, an antimicrobial frequently used to treat urinary tract infections, varied from 8.4 per cent to 92.9 per cent in 33 reporting countries,” the press release noted.
Ghebreyesus said that his organisation hopes to continue cooperation with the United States.
“The world has long benefited from the strong, collaborative engagement with the government and the people of the United States,” he said.
The WHO chief said that the US government and people’s contribution and generosity towards global health over many decades has been immense, and it has made a great difference in public health all around the world.