Influenza and COVID: What are the risks of co-infection?

It is not impossible to have more than one respiratory illness at a time. We know that cross infection is very common شائعةRodica Gilka, MD, a medical advisor at the National Institute of Public Health in Quebec (INSPQ), explains.

according to dReturn Gilca, up to 15% of patients hospitalized with respiratory viruses in Quebec have multiple infections, which It can lead to complications. However, little is known about the potential consequences of both COVID-19 and influenza.

She added that preparations must be made for this possibility due to the easing of health measures that will occur in the coming months. Social contact will increase and influenza may benefit, among other things.

Since the population had not encountered these viruses for several months, an ecological niche was opened. We fear that influenza and other viruses will begin to circulate again in the fall in the population.

Quote from:Dr. Rodica Jelka, Medical Consultant at the Institut General Nationale de Québec

The first clues

at lab from the research center the classroom From Quebec, microbiologist and infectious disease specialist Jay Boivin has been studying interactions between the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) and the influenza strain (H1N1) for several months.

We wanted to know if the virus replicates with a good viral load […] They can have an effect on another virus, thus interfering with the replication of a second virus.

To do this, he first infected human nasal and bronchial cells with H1N1 and then with SARS-CoV-2. He also did the opposite, infecting cells with SARS-CoV-2 virus first, and then H1N1 virus second.

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Although the results obtained so far are preliminary just awesomeaccording to ds Boivin: Having the flu first appears to prevent the development of COVID-19.

The influenza virus will almost completely prevent the replication of the COVID-19 virus.

Quote from:Dr. Guy Boivin, microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at CHU de Québec

Dr. Guy Boivin, microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at CHU de Québec.

Photo: Radio Canada

The H1N1 virus appears to secrete interferon, an antiviral molecule that prevents the replication of another virus, for a period of a few days.

However, the opposite is not true. When we start with COVID-19 infection, followed by H1N1 infection, the COVID-19 virus does not interfere with influenza virus replication., refers to D.s Boivin.

In what order to vaccinate?

Based on these results, Drs Boivin allows himself to extrapolate what could happen, in the coming years, if COVID-19 becomes a seasonal virus like the flu.

If we start the season with a major flu outbreak, we expect there will be slight damage from COVID-19. On the other hand, if we start with a good epidemic of COVID-19, it will not prevent a flu epidemic from happening at the same time., Illustrates.

At this point, we could have people infected with both viruses, with much more serious consequences.

Quote from:Dr. Guy Boivin, microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at CHU de Québec

And while he remained cautious, he considered what might be the best strategy to protect the population from both diseases at the same time.

It would be reasonable to say that we should get vaccinated against COVID-19 first, followed by influenza second.

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work d عملs However, Boivin has its limitations. Using only the H1N1 virus, it is impossible to know how other strains of influenza interact with the virus that causes COVID-19.

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Each season, not only the H1N1 virus circulates, but also H3N2 and the influenza B virus. To my knowledge, I have not yet seen any results of interactions between these other subtypes of the virus.Rodica Gilka analysis.

work d عملs Boivin also does not take into account other respiratory viruses, which are neither influenza nor COVID, which are still present and which can also interact with SARS-CoV-2.

Finally, the work was performed on virgin cells that were never exposed to H1N1 or SARS-CoV-2. This means that antibody-acquired immunity is not one of the variables studied.

Once these limits are established, INSPQ can still judge the results of D.s Boivin is very interesting, especially given the little data available on this basic topic.

It provides us with additional elements that can aid in decision making.

Quote from:Dr. Rodica Jelka, Medical Consultant at the Institut General Nationale de Québec

considered dReturn However, Rodica Jelka believes that the hygiene measures people are accustomed to during a pandemic, whether it’s washing hands or wearing a mask, will help fight influenza better in the years to come.

The way we live our daily lives can prevent not only SARS-CoV-2, but other viruses as well. […] It can help us combat this possibility of mixed infection, the severity of which is still unknown at this time.

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