The risk of death is calculated. What is the threat of simultaneous infection with influenza and COVID-19

Alfiya Enikeeva.

Against the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, experts around the world are warning of a new danger. A seasonal flu epidemic could start this year in many countries due to the easing of anticancer restrictions. And the spread of two infections at once and the simultaneous infection with them will lead to hundreds of thousands of additional victims. How high the probability of double infection really is and what it can turn out to be for an ordinary person – in the material of RIA Novosti.

Viral communal apartment

The first reports of the new COVID-19 disease came from China at the end of December 2019. And already in January 2020, Chinese doctors spoke about four cases of coinfection – simultaneous infection with influenza and SARS-CoV-2. It was about patients 15, 30, 33 and 62 years old. In two in the body, in addition to coronavirus, they found influenza type A. In others, type B.

All of these people had a higher temperature and lasted longer than other patients with confirmed COVID-19. In addition, they suffered from a more severe and prolonged cough. The worst course of covid was in an elderly man with several chronic diseases, including cancer. He developed bilateral pneumonia, the high temperature could not be brought down for 24 days.

A month later, Chinese doctors detailed another case of coinfection. A 69-year-old patient presented with all the main symptoms of COVID-19: fever, chills, muscle pain, loss of smell and subsequently viral pne-umonia. However, none of the three tests determined the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in his body. But the high-precision method of PCR diagnostics revealed type A influenza. The doctors concluded that the man had two infections at once, and covid was not found due to false-negative results of samples taken from the upper respiratory tract.

It is possible that he caught the coronavirus a little later than the flu, the authors of the work suggested. Therefore, the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 in his body was quite low, and the test system simply did not see it.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why double contamination is not detected so often in the laboratory. In addition, most confirmed COVID-19 patients are not tested for other viruses. Although, every fifth person who is ill with covid, as shown by analyzes, is also infected with pathogens of other acute respiratory viral infections. And one in ten people hospitalized with a common cold show typical symptoms of coronavirus. These are the findings of researchers from the Stanford University Medical Center ( USA ), who studied data on 562 patients who were admitted to the hospital with suspected COVID-19.

Misfortune never comes alone

So far, there is no exact data on the frequency of simultaneous infection with influenza viruses and SARS-CoV-2 in any country in the world. However, the consequences of double infection are very worrying. The course of both diseases increases, and the likelihood of serious complications, including encephalitis – inflammation of the brain tissue – and death , increases .

In particular, with coinfection, the risk of dying in-creases sixfold compared to those who do not have the flu or covid, and twice as c-ompared to patients with only coronavirus.

In addition, the pathogens, contrary to previously stated assumptions , begin to “help” each other. So, in experiments on a culture of human cells and on mice, Chinese scientists have shown that the type A influenza virus enhances the infectiousness of SARS-CoV-2 if it enters the body immediately after it.

At the very least, the causative agent of seasonal infection significantly facilitated the entry and replication of coronavirus in many types of cells that make up the respiratory tract and lung tissue in humans. Therefore, in mice infected with both pathogens, more serious damage to the lungs was recorded than in their relatives suffering from only one of the diseases.

Interestingly, only the type A influenza virus provided such help to SARS-CoV-2. The rest of the ARVI pathogens – and the researchers injected the animals with several pathoge-ns at once – either surrendered under the onslaught of the coronavirus or drove it out of the cells.

These conclusions, albeit indirectly, are confirmed by the later work of scientists from Saudi Arabia , according to which almost half of the cases of coinfection are attributed to the combination of SARS-CoV-2 and the type A virus.

Double hit – double answer

In Russia the incidence of influenza and SARS in the last month has increased by almost half – mainly among adults and children from seven to 14 years. As noted by Rosp-otrebnadzor , in the total population, the epidemic thresholds of ARVI are now exceeded in 60 constituent entities of Russia.

In parallel, the number of new cases of COVID-19 has been steadily growing for the third week in a row. In Moscow alone, over the past week, covid was diagnosed in 4.5-5.5 thousand people a day. Against the background of these figures, experts do not exclude the development of the so-called tweendemia – a simultaneous epidemic of influenza and coronavirus infection. This means an increase in the number of seriously ill patients.

In fact, the only reasonable way out of the situation is to get two vaccinations: first from COVID-19, then from influenza, as recommended in Rospotrebnadzor. The department advises to maintain a period of at least a month between them. And in the near future, a multivalent vaccine will appear that protects against both infections at once. She is currently undergoing clinical trials.

British epidemiologists note that the simultaneous vaccination against influenza and coronavirus does not carry any additional risks and is safe for health. This is exactly what the 67-year-old Muscovite Tamara Dokuchaeva did. Acco-rding to her, she took root from the covid back in M-ay, because “she was tired of not seeing her grandchildren and being afraid of everything.” And now I decided to get vaccinated against influenza in one of the mobile points located throughout Moscow.

“My daughter lives at a nearby station, I always go to her. And when I get out of the metro, I see this tent all the time. So I decided to come up and find out what’s what. The guys explained everything to me. Well, I injected myself and I’m going home now. That’s it.” It will be calmer in my soul. This is how I get vaccinated every year in the clinic. And here it is convenient, I did it along the way, “said Tamara Aleksandrovna.

She is one of nearly 20 million Russians currently vaccinated against seasonal flu. For reliable protection of the population, according to Gennady Onishchenko , it is necessary to vaccinate 70 million.

That is how many doses people received last year. As a result, this infection has practically disappeared. Doctors recommend getting a flu vaccine before early December. And you can get vaccinated against covid at any time.

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