A new study from the University of Edinburgh found adults in hospital who have COVID-19 and the flu at the same time are at much greater risk of severe disease and death compared with patients who have COVID-19 alone or with other viruses.
Patients with co-infection of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, and influenza viruses were over four times more likely to require ventilation support and 2.4 times more likely to die than if they only had COVID-19.
The findings show the need for greater flu testing of COVID-19 patients in hospital and highlight the importance of full vaccination against both COVID-19 and the flu.
The study is published in The Lancet and was conducted by Dr. Maaike Swets et al.
In the study, the team examined more than 305,000 hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
They looked at the data of adults who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the UK between 6 February 2020 and 8 December 2021.
Test results for respiratory viral co-infections were recorded for 6965 patients with COVID-19. Some 227 of these also had the influenza virus, and they experienced much more severe outcomes.
The findings showed that the combination of COVID-19 and flu viruses is particularly dangerous.
This will be important as many countries decrease the use of social distancing and containment measures. Researchers expect that COVID-19 will circulate with flu, increasing the chance of co-infections.
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In a recent study from Regenstrief Institute, researchers found that COVID-19 vaccines are less effective at protecting against COVID-19-associated hospitalizations in people who are immunocompromised.
In general, immunocompromised individuals are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes.
These findings indicate that while two-doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are beneficial in immunocompromised individuals, they are much less protected from severe disease than people with normal immune systems.
In the study, the team gathered data from more than 89,000 hospitalizations across nine states, making this the largest study of its kind evaluating COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness among immunocompromised people.
They found those mRNA vaccines (manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna) were 90% effective at protecting against COVID-related hospitalization in immunocompetent individuals.
But the vaccines were only 77% effective in those with suppressed immunity due to a range of health conditions.
The differences were similar across age groups. However, the effectiveness varied greatly among immunocompromised subgroups.
For example, it was lower in organ or stem cell transplant patients and better in people with rheumatologic or inflammatory disorders.
The team suggests that those who are immunocompromised should receive an additional dose and a booster, take additional precautions like masking when in public.
And if they get infected, they should seek treatment with proven therapies that can protect against progression to severe disease and the need for hospitalization.
If you care about Covid, please read studies about why COVID-19 can trigger severe disease and death, and inexpensive heart drug that could help treat severe COVID-19.
For more information about Covid, please see recent studies about new way to prevent many COVID-19 variants, and results showing these two things are the key to suppressing COVID-19.
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