(WHDH) — The coronavirus has weakened due to possible genetic mutations and it could disappear on its own without a vaccine, according to one doctor who specializes in critical care.

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Since the height of the pandemic, the virus has downgraded from a “tiger to a wild cat” and people who were once dying are now recovering, Professor Matteo Bassetti, head of the infectious diseases clinic at Policlinico San Martino Hospital in Italy told The Telegraph.

“It was like an aggressive tiger in March and April but now it’s like a wild cat. Even elderly patients, aged 80 or 90, are now sitting up in bed and they are breathing without help,” Bassetti said in an interview with the news outlet. “The same patients would have died in two or three days before.”

Bassetti also noted that there is a real chance that the disease goes away on its own.

“We have fewer and fewer people infected and it could end up with the virus dying out,” Bassetti said.

Bassetti also explained that he believes the virus is getting weaker because it has mutated in response to people staying at home, wearing masks, and socially distancing themselves from others.

“I think the virus has mutated because our immune system reacts to the virus and we have a lower viral load now due to the lockdown,” he said.

But Dr. Bharat Pankhania, a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School, disagreed with Bassetti’s claims, saying the idea that COVID could vanish on its own is “optimistic in the short term.”

“I don’t expect it to die out that quickly,” Pankhania told the Telegraph.

Italy has recorded 238,720 coronavirus cases and 34,667 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The United States has reported 2,366,688 cases and 122,334 deaths.

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