NOV 03, 2022 9:11 AM PDT

Co-Infections of COVID-19 and the Flu were Common Last Winter, Researchers Find

WRITTEN BY: Zoe Michaud

Infections of SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, do not always occur on their own. A COVID-19 infection can occur at the same time as an infection of the flu (influenza virus) or common cold (adenoviruses). 

It is thought that co-infections of SARS-CoV-2, influenza viruses, and adenoviruses significantly increase the odds of death compared to an infection with a single virus. Co-infections have also been shown to increase the likelihood of needing mechanical ventilation during a SARS-CoV-2 hospitalization. Due to the increased risk of severe disease, co-infection of COVID-19 and influenza should be avoided whenever possible. 

A new study published in Virology examines the frequency of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza co-infection in Missouri during the 2021-2022 influenza season. The flu season typically lasts from October to May in the United States, during the year's colder months. 

The researchers found that during the 2021-2022 flu season, co-infections of influenza and COVID-19 rose as high as 48% during the month of October. At that point in time, the prevailing COVID-19 variant was the Delta variant. 

By the month of January, the rate of co-infection had dropped to around 7% when the Omicron variant prevailed. The researchers found that individuals were less likely to become co-infected with the flu and COVID-19 if they had received an influenza vaccine during the current or previous flu season. They also found that those infected with the Omicron variant were less likely to be co-infection with the flu and COVID-19. 

Henry Wan, Ph.D., study co-author, says that “our study highlights the importance of influenza vaccinations, as they appear to not only offer some protection against influenza infections but, importantly, against COVID-19 and flu co-infections.” 

The researchers involved in the study also recommend that clinicians test patients experiencing respiratory symptoms for influenza at the same time that they test for COVID-19. 

Sources: The Lancet, Virology

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Zoe (she/her) is a science writer and a scientist working in genomics. She received her B.S. from the University of Connecticut with a focus in Evolutionary Biology. At Labroots, she focuses on writing scientific content related to clinical research and diagnostics.
You May Also Like
NOV 08, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
A promising treatment for chronic lung infection in cystic fibrosis
A promising treatment for chronic lung infection in cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis (CF) affects over 100,000 people worldwide and is caused by one of several known mutations in the CFTR ( ...
NOV 16, 2022
Technology
AI Detects Heart Failure from Smart Watch Data
AI Detects Heart Failure from Smart Watch Data
Heart disease, including heart failure, is an increasingly common health problem people experience around the globe. Hea ...
DEC 01, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
No more manual library preps!
No more manual library preps!
BioQuleTM NGS System - Say ‘goodbye’ to manual library prepping and ‘hello’ to generating librar ...
DEC 05, 2022
Health & Medicine
Favorable and Unfavorable Prognostic Genes in Human Cancers
Favorable and Unfavorable Prognostic Genes in Human Cancers
Favorable and Unfavorable Prognostic Genes in Human Cancers Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, so there is an ...
JAN 09, 2023
Cancer
iKnife Helps Find Endometrial Cancer
iKnife Helps Find Endometrial Cancer
Point-of-care diagnoses occur when a doctor can quickly diagnose a patient during an examination without sending biologi ...
JAN 18, 2023
Neuroscience
Gene Linked to Alzheimer's Disease Predicts Who Benefits from Hormone Replacement Therapy
Gene Linked to Alzheimer's Disease Predicts Who Benefits from Hormone Replacement Therapy
Well established drug treatment might help some of the two-thirds of patients with Alzheimer's Disease.
Loading Comments...