(ANSA) – ROME, NOV 26 – Italy’s premier infectious-disease hospital, the Spallanzani in Rome, on Friday set up a task force on the new, reportedly more virulent COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa.
It said that through the foreign ministry it had got in touch with Italian Ambassador Paolo Cuculi who is facilitating liaison with South African COVID authorities.
The Spallanzani said it would soon have an international call with experts from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) to discuss data and measures to adopt.
Spallanzani Director Francesco Vaia said that the task force “is the Spallanzani’s immediate response to the concern that arises among citizens with regard to this variant.
“The signal we are launching is: take care, let’s observe beforehand, let’s study and then let’s verify what action to take to combat this further variant”.
Health Undersecretary Pierpaolo Sileri said the new variant was not in Italy yet but authorities must be on the alert about it.
A first European case of the ‘Nu’ virus was reported Friday: a young Belgian woman who developed symptoms 11 days after travelling in Egypt from Turkey.
People who have been in seven African countries in the last 14 days were barred Friday from entering Italy.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said Friday that the Nu variant might have a very high transmission rate and weaken vaccines but not bring more serious infections.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said that it was too early to know whether vaccines might have to be tweaked, or new ones found, against the Nu variant.