Research in England shows a dangerous relationship between the viruses that cause both diseases; for those in the ICU with co-infection, the risk of death is 6.33 times higher.
People infected at the same time by the new coronavirus and the flu virus are twice as likely to die than those infected by Sars-Cov-2 alone . This is the conclusion of a study carried out by the British government agency Public Health England (PHE), between January and April this year.
The data, published as a preprint on medRxiv, were released as PHE launched an expanded flu vaccination programme for England that will target 30 million people this winter.
In addition, people with both diseases are also at increased risk of developing severe symptoms and needing to be hospitalized. The study showed that the majority of cases occurred in people over 70 years of age, precisely the portion of the population most vulnerable to this type of complication.
However, there seems to be some competition between viruses. The same research showed that the risk of testing positive for flu – in people tested positive for Covid-19 – was 68% less than in people without the coronavirus. These data were in line with the survey conducted in New York, where less than 3% of people with Covid-19 had coinfection with the flu, while 13% of those tested negative for coronavirus disease had flu.
Even so, the increased risk of death and serious complications on the part of those who have co-infection are sufficient reasons for researchers to reinforce the importance of vaccinating the population against influenza, a vaccine that already exists and is widely tested.
In the words of Yvonne Doyle, medical director of the PHE, “there is evidence to suggest that flu, Covid-19 and other viral illnesses can compete with each other. However, if you are infected with both, you are in serious trouble. people most likely to catch both diseases are likely to be least likely to be at risk. “
As mentioned, the risk of dying for people with flu and Covid-19 is 2.27 times higher. This number reaches 5.92 times when people without any infections are compared. The increase is due to the synergy that diseases seem to create in the body.
The numbers remain quite high when considering factors of intensive hospitalization and respirators. For those in the ICU with co-infection, the risk of death is 6.33 times higher than in people without any of the infections. For those with respirators, the number is 6.43 times higher.
It is worth mentioning that these numbers are for cases of co-infection, that is, the person is facing both diseases at the same time. The research failed to show a relationship, protective or not, between those people who already had one of the diseases, were cured, and took the other.
However, when comparing symptoms in people with one or another disease, those with co-infection have more and more severe symptoms, which shows, once again, the relevance of protecting oneself from those that can be immunized, that is, the flu. .
In all, data were collected from 19,256 people tested for Covid-19 and influenza, where 58 had co-infection. Among them, the mortality rate was 43.1%, with the majority being over 70 years old.