Coronavirus mixed with flu increases risk :
Adults in the hospital who have Covid-19 and the flu at the same time have a substantially higher risk of severe sickness and death than individuals who have Covid-19 alone or in combination with other viruses, according to study.
Experts discovered that patients who had SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, and influenza viruses co-infected were nearly four times more likely to require ventilator assistance and 2.4 times more likely to die than if they only had Covid-19.
The findings, according to the researchers, underline the necessity for more flu testing of Covid-19 patients in hospitals, as well as the need of comprehensive vaccination against both Covid-19 and the flu.
The findings were made in a study of more than 305,000 hospitalised patients with Covid-19 by a team from the Universities of Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leiden University, and Imperial College London.
The study, which was conducted as part of the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium’s (ISARIC) Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium, is the largest yet conducted on persons infected with Covid-19 and other endemic respiratory viruses.
The ISARIC research was established in 2013 in anticipation of a pandemic like this.
The researchers examined data from patients hospitalised with Covid-19 in the United Kingdom between 6 February 2020 and 8 December 2021.
For 6965 Covid-19 patients, test results for respiratory virus co-infections were collected. There were 227 of them who also had the influenza virus and had much worse results.
Dr. Maaike Swets, a PhD student at the Universities of Edinburgh and Leiden, stated: “In the last two years, we have frequently seen patients with Covid-19 become critically unwell, necessitating ICU treatment and the need of an artificial ventilator to assist with breathing.
It was already recognised that an influenza infection may result in a similar condition, but little was known about the consequences of a double infection with SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses.”
Professor Kenneth Baillie, of the University of Edinburgh’s Department of Experimental Medicine, stated: “We discovered that combining Covid-19 and flu viruses is especially harmful. This is significant since many countries are reducing their usage of social distance and containment tactics. We anticipate that Covid-19 will circulate alongside flu, increasing the possibility of co-infections. As a result, we should revise our testing strategy for Covid-19 patients in hospitals and test for flu much more broadly.”
Professor Calum Semple, of the University of Liverpool’s Department of Outbreak Medicine and Child Health, stated: “As people resume normal mingling, we are seeing an increase in the usual seasonal respiratory viruses. As a result, we should expect flu to circulate alongside Covid-19 this winter. We were astonished to learn that when persons were infected with both the flu and the Covid-19 viruses, their chance of mortality more than doubled. It is now critical that people get completely vaccinated and boosted against both viruses as soon as possible, rather than waiting until it is too late.”
“Understanding the consequences of double infections of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses is critical as they have implications for patients, hospitals, and ICU capacity during seasons when SARS-CoV-2 and influenza circulate together,” said Dr Geert Groeneveld of Leiden University Medical Center’s infectious diseases department.
Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College London, Professor Peter Openshaw, stated: “Although being infected with more than one virus is uncommon, it is crucial to be aware that co-infections sometimes occur. The vaccines used to defend against Covid-19 and flu are not the same, and patients require both. Because these two diseases are handled differently, it is crucial to test for other viruses even if you have a diagnosis of a respiratory infection in someone who is hospitalised. The ISARIC consortium’s latest discovery contributes greatly to enhancing the way we manage patients.”
The study’s findings were reported in The Lancet. As part of the UK Government’s Covid-19 quick research response, the research was financed by UKRI and the Department of Health and Social Care via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
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