Siberian coronavirus vaccine developers find mushrooms to fight diseases


Siberian coronavirus vaccine developers find mushrooms to fight diseases

Apr 30, 2020, 08:49

Novosibirsk virologists confirmed the antiviral effect in various fungi. The study was carried out by the staff of the center “Vector”, which is now working on a vaccine against coronavirus.

Specialists of the Novosibirsk “Vector” studied the antiviral effect of about half a thousand samples (water extracts, polysaccharides and melanins) obtained from pure cultures of Siberian higher fungi. The results of the research were reported by the publication of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences “First-hand Science”.

“The most promising strains of fungi that were active against HIV-1, herpes simplex viruses, West Nile viruses, influenza of various subtypes and orthopoxviruses (smallpox and others) were identified, while some of them were active against three or more pathogens,” the message said.

Scientists called the “absolute record holder” a birch mushroom, or chaga. Its extract suppressed all investigated viruses. High activity was shown by some other types of tinder fungi, as well as ordinary funky, oyster mushrooms pulmonary and oyster.

Moreover, scientists recommend using chaga at home: “In this case, it is better to use not a ready-made preparation of befungin containing cobalt salts, but dry ground raw materials that can be bought at a pharmacy. Long exposure at high temperature negatively affects some valuable substances of the fungus, so it’s better to grind the pharmacy chaga on an ordinary coffee grinder and brew one teaspoon of the powder with a glass of boiling water. Ground chaga can be added to regular coffee, which is prepared in a cup or Turk.

A collection of mushrooms was collected with the help of mycologists from the Central Siberian Botanical Garden. It has more than a hundred strains belonging to 60 species. Most of them have long been used in folk medicine, some are even edible, the researchers noted.

The Virology Center “Vector” is developing a vaccine against coronavirus. In April, it became known that 60 volunteers appeared for clinical trials. Among them, the main vaccine developer Ilnaz Imatdinov.


After controlling the Covid-19 curve, South Korea awaits the second pandemic wave

The authorities of South Korea, praised worldwide for the “success” of its fight against the coronavirus, They are preparing for a second wave of infections despite the fact that the Asian country continues to register a notable decrease in cases after registering only eight new infected in the last day. The country, which registered its first case of Covid-19 on January 20, implemented strict social distancing measures and imposed harsh confinement, which now allows the total number of infected to be 10,708 people.

Thanks to the established social distancing measures, South Korea avoided the worst possible scenario despite being one of the first countries to be hit by the pandemic. Therefore, currently the number of new daily cases is significantly lower than that registered on February 29, when the country had reached its peak of infections and had about 900 new infections per day.

This Friday, April 24, the South Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported that there were no deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in the last 24 hours, the first time this has happened in a month, the news agency reported Yonhap. Therefore, the death toll from Covid-19 in the Asian country remains at 240, with a death rate of 1.17 percent, one of the lowest in the world.

However, the South Korean government announced that continues alert to the possibility of a large wave of infections after the summer (June to September). “Experts say there could be another major pandemic during the season when influenza prevails given that both are caused by similar viruses,” said Yoon Tae Ho of the Ministry of Health, who insisted that the country must prepare to fight against the coronavirus in the long term since its population is not yet immune to the virus and there is currently no vaccine or treatment.

South Korean health authorities also warned of the possibility of contagion from imported cases now that infections locally are on the decline. During the past two weeks, imported cases (a total of 1,021 as of April 24) accounted for more than 60 percent of new infections reported.

Despite the clear signs of slowdown that the pandemic In South Korea, the South Korean authorities, who justified the reduction of cases with social distancing measures, remain alert for the increasing number of imported infections. Specifically, of the six new cases registered on April 23, two were provisionally classified as imported infections.

The general physical distancing will continue in South Korea until May 5. However, the country, which became one of the most affected in the first moments of the pandemic, already considers moving towards “epidemiological prevention of daily life” if after that date the number of new infections continues to stagnate.



Brazil: some states free themselves from restrictions, but in Manaus chaos reigns

The city of Manaus, capital of the Amazon state of Brazil, is experiencing sanitary chaos due to the new coronavirus: Medical personnel are lacking, some hospitals store corpses in refrigerated trucks, and cemeteries began to open mass graves. “It is a living scene from a horror movie. The state is no longer an emergency, but an absolute calamity,” said the city’s mayor, Arthur Virgilio Neto.

In Manaus, an average of 20 to 30 people per day died, but the number rose to “more than 100” per day. and the deficit health system in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is reaching the remote indigenous communities of this state of 1.5 million km2 (almost three times that of Spain), collapsed. “People are dying at home … some, perhaps because they did not have” medical assistance, “adds the mayor, who suspects that” it was basically the covid-19 “that caused these deaths.

Amazonas is the fifth state hardest hit by the new coronavirus, with 2,479 infections and 207 deaths as of Tuesday, but Manaus, with 1.7 million inhabitants, has the highest death rate of the 27 state capitals. The increase in cases in Manaus brought hospitals to the brink of the abyss, which installed cold rooms in trucks to preserve the bodies.

In the Parque Taruma public cemetery they are opening mass graves to bury the victims of covid-19; By order of the mayor, a maximum of five family members can say a brief and final goodbye to their loved ones. “We are doing hard work to bury people. We already had sick gravediggers, who contracted coronaviruses, some will not come out alive,” regrets the mayor of Manaus, who asked for more resources from the Jair Bolsonaro government.

Brazil is the Latin American country with the highest number of deaths and infections: more than 2,900 and more than 45,000, respectively. Figures that according to experts could be up to 15 times higher and that do not reflect reality due to the lack of exams for COVID-19. The pandemic boom is expected from May, but Manaus has already occupied 90% of its ICU beds, protective supplies for health officials, as well as CT scanners and medications, are lacking.

“The system is really centralized in the capita, forcing serious patients from the remaining 61 municipalities of Amazonas, located in many cases days by boat, to travel to the capital to be cared for. And when the patient manages to travel to Manaus arrives “in a deplorable situation or has no guarantees of receiving adequate care. It is a dramatic situation, “adds the mayor.

São Paulo, the worst-hit state in Brazil, announced the “gradual” end of the quarantine starting next month, and denied having been pressured, while Rio de Janeiro may make isolation more flexible, which is in line with the Jair Bolsonaro’s thought. “Starting on the 11th (May), gradually, heterogeneously and safely, we will open the economy of the state of São Paulo, always with the support of science and medicine,” announced Governor Joao Doria.

Since the beginning of the crisis by coronavirus pandemicDoria defended isolation to contain contagion, becoming the main antagonist of President Bolsonaro, who rejects it as a threat to economic recovery. “In São Paulo, neither the economy nor politics take precedence over the guidelines of health and medicine,” Doria said Wednesday at noon.

On the other hand, the governor of Rio de Janeiro, Wilson Witzel, who contracted the virus, summoned the members of his cabinet for a virtual meeting for this Thursday in which the end of the quarantine in May can be announced. It is the second state hardest hit by Covid-19, and presents a critical picture in its hospitals, where nearly 80% of intensive care beds have already been occupied.



Cradle of the virus? The world wonders what the Wuhan Scientific Laboratory hides

Located among the hills surrounding the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the new coronavirus emerged, a Chinese biotechnology laboratory became the center of a global controversy. According to Chinese scientists, the SARS-Cov2 coronavirus could have passed from the animal to the man in the market “Huanan“, which sold live animals in Wuhan. But the existence of this laboratory encourages speculation that the virus came out of there: what is it hiding?

The United States does not believe that the virus is linked to biological weapons research, or that it has been bioengineered. And the scientific community is also inclined towards a virus derived from animals and not from test tubes, as demonstrated by the structure of Covid-19. But the US government does not exclude that there was an “incident” that caused him to leave the laboratory, perhaps due to incorrect or inadequate handling of the materials that infected some employees.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said a “full investigation” is being carried out on how the virus “came out into the world.” “What we know is that this virus was born in Wuhan and that the Wuhan Virology Institute is only a few kilometers away from the open market,” added Pompeo, who recently accused the Chinese Communist Party of having hidden and manipulated a lot of data.

wuhan china laboratory

What is the Wuhan Institute of Virology?

The institute houses the Virus Culture Center, the largest virus bank in Asia where more than 1,500 varieties are preserved, according to its website. Within the complex is Asia’s first laboratory for high security capable of handling class 4 (P4) pathogens, that is, dangerous viruses that are transmitted from person to person, such as Ebola.

The laboratory cost 300 million yuan ($ 42 million) and was completed in 2015, although it was not opened until 2018. French Alain Merieux, founder of a bio-industrial company, advised on its construction. The 3,000 m2 P4 laboratory is located within a square building with a cylindrical annex, near a pond at the foot of a forested hill on the outskirts of Wuhan.

A sign outside the complex indicates “Strong Prevention and Control, Don’t Fear, Listen to Official Announcements, Believe in Science, Don’t Spread Rumors

Wuhan’s laboratory rejects accusations: “It is impossible that the virus has come out of here”

wuhan china laboratory

Is the laboratory the origin of the coronavirus?

The newspaper The Washington Post and the chain Fox News They cited anonymous sources claiming that the virus could have accidentally left the complex. According to diplomatic documents that the American newspaper was able to consult, the authorities were concerned about the inadequate security of the investigators when handling viruses similar to SARS.

The concern was such that the scientists who alerted their superiors, the newspaper wrote. The Washington Post, on the deficiencies in the management and security of the Chinese laboratory, and proposed offering more attention and help not only because of the importance of studies on bat coronaviruses, but also because of their danger.

In accordance with Fox NewsThe “patient zero” of the pandemic could have been infected by a variety of bat viruses that were being studied in the laboratory and then passed on to the Wuhan population. When asked about this hypothesis, the American President, Donald Trump said that “we are increasingly hearing this story” and that the United States was conducting an “in-depth investigation”.

The institute declined to comment on these theories on Friday, but in February released a statement about it, rejecting the rumors. His authorities explained having received the new coronavirus, then unknown, on December 30. Then, on January 2, he determined the sequence of the viral genome and submitted the information on the pathogen to the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 11.

For his part, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Friday rejected allegations that the laboratory was responsible: “A knowledgeable person will soon understand that the intention is to create confusion, divert public attention and shirk their responsibility “said Zhao, who in turn promoted rumors that the US military could have brought the virus to China.

“None of the investigators became infected,” said Yuan Zhiming., head of that center. “And the entire institute is conducting research in various areas related to the coronavirus,” he said.

wuhan china laboratory

PHOTOS | Wuhan food markets fight crisis and coronavirus stigma

What do scientists know about the coronavirus?

Scientists believe the virus appeared in a bat and passed to man through an intermediate species, probably the pangolin, but a study by a group of Chinese scientists, published in the journal January. The Lancet, reveals that the first COVID-19 patient had no connection to the Wuhan animal market13 of the first 41 patients did not have it either.

Shi Zhengli, a leading Chinese expert on bat coronavirus and deputy director of the P4 laboratory, was part of the team that published the first study suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 (the official name of the virus) came from bats. In an interview with the magazine Scientific american, Shi said that the SARS-CoV-2 genome does not match any of the bat coronaviruses that his laboratory studied so far.

According Filippa Lentzos, a biosecurity researcher at King’s College LondonAlthough there is no evidence on the theory of the accident in the laboratory, there is also no “real evidence” that the virus came from the market. “For me, the origin of the pandemic is still an unanswered question,” he said.

The virus is believed originated from one of Wuhan’s many wildlife markets at the end of last year, but the peculiar thing is that the place did not sell bats, nor food based on them. The disease that it unleashes, called Covid-19 and that impacts mainly on the respiratory tract of humans, so far has caused more than 160 thousand deaths worldwide and more than two million 300 thousand infections.



Trump threatens China with consequences

Dhe American President Donald Trump has held China responsible for the worldwide spread of the corona virus and has defended its own government against criticism. “It could have been stopped in China,” Trump said on Saturday night (local time) at his daily White House press conference about the virus. “It didn’t happen, and the whole world suffers because of it.” The president accused the Beijing government of failing to do so. He called criticism of his government in the Corona crisis a “witch hunt”.

Trump said, “The question was asked: Would you be angry with China? The answer to that could be a very loud yes. But it depends: Was it a mistake that got out of control or was it done on purpose? ”In the latter case“ there should be consequences ”. In any event, the government in Beijing should have allowed American professionals to investigate the operations on the ground. “They didn’t want us there. I think they were ashamed. I think they knew it was bad. “

“Does anyone really believe these numbers?”

According to American media reports, China could not have informed the international community about the virus for days. There are also reports in the United States, citing American intelligence, that the virus may come from a research laboratory in China. According to this theory, it was accidentally brought to the city by the Wuhan Institute of Virology where the pandemic started.

Trump was convinced on Saturday evening that China and not the United States had the highest number of deaths in the pandemic. “We are not in the first place, China is in the first place,” said Trump. This is contrary to statistics that most victims locate in America. After a Overview of Johns Hopkins University there are now more than 39,000 fatalities in the United States, more than in any other country. According to this, more than 735,000 people have been infected with the virus.

The coordinator of the Corona working group at the White House, medical doctor Deborah Birx, said at the press conference, with regard to the information from China, that it was “unrealistic”. Trump said, “Does anyone really believe these numbers?”

Trump again attacked Democratic governors in the states they ruled. His government has provided respiratory equipment to affected states and increased hospital beds there, he said. There is also sufficient testing capacity that the governors just did not use. However, several governors of both the Republicans and Democrats continue to complain about a lack of nationwide tests that are prerequisite for Trump’s gradual reopening of the economy. For example, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said on Saturday: “Testing will continue to be an issue.” Republican DeSantis is a loyal Trump supporter.


First quarter: China’s economy slumps

I.n As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, China’s economy has shrunk for the first time in decades. As the Beijing Statistics Office announced on Friday, the gross domestic product in the first quarter decreased by 6.8 percent compared to the first three months of the previous year. It is the first negative value since at least 1992 when the People’s Republic started publishing growth figures on a quarterly basis.

China last had a whole year with a shrinking economy in 1976. Last year, the second largest economy had grown by 6.1 percent.

The sharp decline illustrates how severely Chinese companies were hit by the corona virus outbreak. The stringent measures against the spread of the virus had practically brought the Chinese economy to a standstill since the end of January. The effects were particularly noticeable in February. For weeks, factories and companies have been slowly resuming work, which means that some economic data indicate a slight recovery.

The foreign trade figures published on Tuesday already showed a slight stabilization. The decline in exports in March was still a significant 6.6 percent year-on-year. However, the decline was no longer as great as in January and February, when exports had slumped by 17.2 percent. After a minus of four percent in the first two months of the year, imports in March only decreased by 0.9 percent.

China’s economy has the worst behind it

While many economists suspect that the worst slump is over, there is disagreement about how quickly the pre-crisis level can be reached again. “Given the current situation, the Chinese economy is not expected to recover quickly in the second quarter,” says Max Zenglein, an economic expert at the China Institute Merics in Berlin.

Economic output is only slowly getting going after the standstill. In addition, the country will only fully feel the effects of falling global demand in the coming weeks. “The crisis mode will continue in China for a while,” says Zenglein.

Economist Huang Weiping also believes that much depends on how the corona pandemic develops in the rest of the world for China’s economy: “If the global economy recovers quickly, then China will also recover quickly”. However, only with strong domestic demand will it be difficult to quickly boost economic growth again: “However, there will be no negative growth,” the economics professor is convinced.

How dynamic the recovery is going to depend on how much Beijing is supporting the economy with support measures. The government has already launched a large number of fiscal and monetary policy measures. The main aim is to reduce the tax burden on small and medium-sized companies and to simplify their access to capital, explains Merics expert Zenglein. However, new infrastructure programs have also been announced, for example for 5G network expansion, which enables faster mobile Internet.

China’s central bank also opened the tap. But the Chinese monetary authorities have so far acted with moderation. So far, the volume of Chinese aid has not been as great as the aid packages that Europe or the United States have launched. But calls for more spending are being heard: “It is now necessary to give companies more targeted help,” believes economist Huang Weiping. His colleague Ye Tan agrees: “I think the existing measures will be expanded.”

Which further aid is coming and which is not, should become clearer when China’s People’s Congress comes together for its annual meeting. After the cancellation of the corona pandemic in early March, it is suspected that the most important political meeting of the year could take place in May or June. However, there is still no official confirmation for the appointment.


China’s economy slumped 6.8 percent in the first quarter


According to the Beijing Statistics Office, gross domestic product in China shrank significantly in the first quarter compared to the same period in the previous year.

(Photo: AFP)

Beijing As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, China’s economy has shrunk for the first time in decades. As the Beijing Statistics Office announced on Friday, the gross domestic product in the first quarter decreased by 6.8 percent compared to the first three months of the previous year.

It is the first negative value since at least 1992 when the People’s Republic started publishing growth figures on a quarterly basis.

China last had a whole year with a shrinking economy in 1976. Last year, the second largest economy had grown by 6.1 percent.


Nuevo León will allow wakes – Televisa News

Although originally the government of New Lion had announced that the bodies of people who died of COVID-19 would be cremated directly, the authorities changed their minds and announced that they will also be able to watch over them, and bury them.

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The secretary of Health in the entity, Manuel de la O Cavazos, recognized that preventing people from seeing their dead relative can cause psychological problems.

“There are people who are going to cause trauma for a lifetime,” said De la O Cavazos, “so it was agreed that it would be a short four-hour visit with a maximum of 20 people, which seems correct to me.”

Regarding possible infections, the official explained that among the control measures will be that the body will be in a waterproof, sealed and sanitized bag; in addition the coffin will be sealed.

“There are no aerosols that the corpse dispatches, there is no longer any risk that it can infect people, so they can also inhume it,” he said.

With information from Notimex


The coronavirus pandemic forces changes in cancer treatments

The new coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) it is affecting more than ever the provision of medicines, medical care and even the very life of cancer patients. In this second installment, PROFILE continues to report the changes that patients and doctors are already facing to adapt treatments to the new context.

He National Cancer Institute (INC), which belongs to the Ministry of Health, considers the cancer patient within the Covid-19 risk group, since various treatments weaken the immune system, such as chemotherapy, extensive radiation therapy, and bone marrow transplants. This medium consulted the main oncology associations, specialized doctors, official sources, and an association that assists patients and families to answer how treatment guidelines will change; what are the keys to mobilize in quarantine; which obstacles continue to be registered; and where to get free assistance and information.

What will happen with the treatments

Oncologists are preparing for the month of May, when the pandemic is expected to reach its peak in Argentina. Still, the Argentine Association of Clinical Oncology He already talks about the lack of resources at the present time: “We are with moderately limited health resources” and this forces us to “prioritize treatments with greater potential benefits” for the patient and to postpone others.

One of the points that must be modified is the form and times of attention. In a virtual exhibition held last Thursday, the oncologist Federico Losco, from the Alexander Fleming Institute (also Argentine Association of Clinical Oncology), he explained to his colleagues that they will no longer be able to continue with their activities as they had been doing until before the arrival of the new coronavirus.

For outpatient care, Losco proposed “minimize visits, space the shifts of patients in treatment and evaluate attending more days a week to avoid contact between patients.” He also recommended “perform a pre-test on patients who will have to attend shifts, call them and detect symptoms of the coronavirus or exposure to confirmed or suspected cases.”

Regarding intravenous treatments, the Association suggests changing them to oral treatments when possible and do not harm the patient. It also recommends that subcutaneous and intramuscular applications be applied by nurses in patients’ homes. The same with blood draws.

Regarding radiotherapy, they state that there are adult patients with certain types of cancer who will not be able to see their treatments postponed, such as those suffering from digestive tumors, cervical-uterine tumors, mammary glands in positive nodes, head and neck tumors.

Although the official decision is not to postpone any oncological surgery, the medical institution advises to reprogram as many as possible, so oncologists must “decide individually each case and taking into account the potential harm of delaying the surgery.” This is because abroad, where the virus advanced earlier and faster, it was detected that “Patients who underwent surgery one month prior to becoming infected with SARS-Cov-2 (or covid-19) had an increased risk of severe events” from the infection.

As for immunotherapy, this type of treatment does not expose the patient to greater immunosuppression, as chemotherapy does. “The recommendation is that they continue to carry out the treatment but that the doctors pay special attention to respiratory symptoms,” Losco added in his presentation.

What are the 48 “essential activities” excepted from social confinement

Go into quarantine

There are patients who must do tens of kilometers to reach the health centers. PROFILE asked the Executive about the exceptions that must be claimed to be able to circulate.

Those who must move for a treatment or purchase of medicines are exempt from the single movement certificate, as they are covered by the exception people who must deal with a situation of force majeure”Of the Decree of Need and Urgency (DNU), as reported in Government. They must carry something that proves it: medical order, hospitalization, oncologist certificate or medical institution.

Regarding family members, they must carry out an online certificate on the Remote Procedures platform, where they will find the exception for family members who must accompany or assist sick people. In urgent cases, they can also appeal to cases of “force majeure” and “assistance to relatives”.

PROFILE already mentioned that one of the problems of patients is the restriction to move. Santiago Bella, from the Argentine Association of Clinical Oncology, He explained that he has an office in Córdoba and cares for patients from other provinces who can no longer continue with their treatments, especially in Catamarca and San Luis, where the restrictions to leave and enter provincial territory are much stricter, he explains.

Given these obstacles, many oncologists are trying to relocate their patients with other doctors. These problems forced many patients to postpone their treatments for up to three weeks. Treatments that preserve their life. “We are receiving cancer patients who are wandering in front of the closure of some oncology areas because their hospitals put all their resources into the fight against Covid-19. We have to see which colleagues we refer them to, ”said a medical oncologist in off.

Where to find assistance

The Argentine Association of Clinical Oncology (AAOC) created a free service for cancer patients and their family environment to consult about covid-19 and cancer. It will be free and the entity’s doctors will respond via email to the address

Another consultation site for patients and families is, from the Know Where to Be Foundation, which includes information to carry out ANSES, PAMI and permits during the quarantine.

Vicky Viel Temperley, founder of the entity, told PROFILE that they carried out a survey of 27 hospitals and health centers in the country. Their volunteers found that, in some cases, nursing staff who used to care for cancer patients were referred to Covid-19 treatment; Volunteers accompanying patients during chemotherapy sessions can no longer enter the wards; Nor, in some cases, can the relatives of patients who must be hospitalized for days enter.

“We are seeing that for fear of the pandemic, some doctors closed their agendas. For this reason, a network of oncologists is being set up to offer their offices in the City of Buenos Aires so that other colleagues can attend to their patients in health centers in a more protected and controlled manner, ”said Julia Ismael, a clinical oncologist, former Director of the National Cancer Institute (INC) and member of the AAOC. “We are trying to refer everything to telemedicine as possible, but some patients need personal follow-up,” Ismael added.

The modernity

Last Thursday, the Ministry of Health sent a brief report (less than three pages of content) with general recommendations to oncologists and patients: the basic ones (distancing and social isolation) and some more specific ones, such as telemedicine.

However, virtual care is not for everyone. The lack of preparation of some health centers for telemedicine or virtual assistance -both public and private- is another of the weaknesses of the system that this pandemic left in evidence, the doctors consulted, patients and relatives agree.

As a consequence of this failure, in many centers, they stopped granting shifts for new treatments because the administrative and nursing staff are on leave, in preventive isolation or redirected to the areas dedicated to the pandemic, Viel Temperley said. “There are clinics where they are doing little chemo,” he explains.

At IOMA, the social work of the province of Buenos Aires, there were delays in the delivery of medication. At the institution, they told PROFILE that complaints are common. “We always claim. Thousands of cancer treatments are performed and each history of affiliations is unique ”. The institution has 2.2 million members.

Viel Temperley explained that her foundation assists patients with difficulties in accessing medications, both in Ioma and PAMI and in official drug banks. “The problem now is that no one attends them through quarantine to process claims. The windows are closed. “



In Italy, the mafia benefits from the consequences of the corona virus

DItalian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese issued a circular to prefects in the regions and provinces of the country warning against a renewed rise in organized crime and social unrest that could be exploited by extremist groups.

Matthias Rüb

Matthias Rüb

Political correspondent for Italy, the Vatican, Albania and Malta based in Rome.

The letter, the contents of which became known on Holy Saturday, states that the persistent payment difficulties of small business owners and the growing poverty among precarious workers due to restrictions in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic could be exploited by mafia clans and exploited by political extremists. Therefore, especially in the south of the country, the security forces would have to prevent local clans from taking advantage of the lack of payment by business people and the growing despair of the population.

From the Campania region, especially from the capital city of Naples, and from the Zen district in northern Palermo in Sicily, it has been reported for days that Camorra and Cosa Nostra distribute basic foodstuffs such as bread and pasta to particularly needy families. The food vouchers promised by the government have still not arrived in many places. The clans lend money to insolvent small business owners and traders who have had no income for weeks to buy economic influence or later to demand usury interest.

Slow bureaucracy

In a document that Interpol had distributed to the 194 member states of the police organization, Italian police chief Franco Gabrielli recently complained that criminal organizations were already making huge profits in the midst of the crisis. The clans have long invested in sectors that are not affected by the current restrictions because they are considered vital to society. This included agriculture, the transport of goods by road, delivery to pharmacies and clinics, garbage collection and waste disposal, as well as burials.

Experts fear that police and government warnings will be late. Contrary to the government’s promise in Rome that small businesses and the needy will be helped immediately, the pledged billion-dollar aid is still stuck in the country’s inefficient administration and inflated bureaucracy.