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What are the consequences of co-infection with SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses

Over the past two years, we have regularly seen patients with COVID-19 become seriously ill

Measures to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 have also been shown to be effective in limiting the spread of other respiratory viruses. As countries raise their reserves, combined viral infections are expected to become more common. In a joint study, researchers from Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and the University of Edinburgh discovered that co-infection with influenza has many effects – not only on the patient, but also on hospitals and government policy.

“Over the past two years, we have regularly seen patients with COVID-19 become critically ill — sometimes even entering the ICU and using a ventilator to help with breathing,” says Mike Sweets, a doctoral student in the department. LUMC Pathology and University of Edinburgh. It was already known that influenza infection can lead to a similar condition. But little is known about the consequences of double infection with SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses. Researchers from both LUMC and the University of Edinburgh have now discovered that co-infection with influenza can make the situation worse. Their discoveries recently appeared in scalpel

mixed infection
While it is relatively uncommon for people to become infected with several pathogens at the same time, the number of people infected with more than one infection is expected to increase, particularly during periods when different viruses are common. Swets explains: “This may have been less obvious at first, due to the 1.5m policy, self-isolation and use of mouth and nose masks during the pandemic. However, as countermeasures have become less stringent and we have entered flu season, different respiratory viruses can spread jointly. And it leads to an increase in double infection with SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses.” Understanding the implications of this is therefore very important in anticipating clinical needs and emphasizing the importance of testing for both viruses.

International cooperation
“Scientific cooperation between LUMC and the University of Edinburgh He was instrumental in laying the foundations for our discoveries,” according to Swets. The PhD student and her colleagues used together ISARIC4CThe database (International Federation of Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infections – WHO Clinical Characterization Protocol) as a primary source of information. “This database is comprehensive and contains information on more than 300,000 patients admitted with COVID-19 to 300 UK hospitals.” Compared with infection with SARS-CoV-2 alone, the researchers found that patients who also contracted the influenza virus fared significantly worse. For example, they needed ventilation in the ICU earlier and had a higher chance of dying. “This could have significant implications for patient, hospital, and ICU capacity during seasons when both SARS-CoV-2 and influenza are common, and ultimately for vaccination strategies.”

Basic prevention
LUMC Principal Investigator Gert Grunfeld emphasizes that prevention is essential: “Large-scale influenza testing in patients with COVID-19 will facilitate the identification of people who have been hospitalized and are at particular risk of exacerbation or deterioration. For at-risk individuals, protection against The route of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 and influenza is very important.” Based on their findings, the research group proposes improving co-protection by adapting vaccination campaigns accordingly.

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Name of author and/or editor by: LUMC
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original title: Co-infection with SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses: What are the consequences?
the target audience: Healthcare professionals and students
History: 2022-03-28

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