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Influenza can worsen Covid-19 impact
Published on: 2021-02-22
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Chinese scientists have published a paper in the journal Cell Research showing that influenza A virus can aggravate Covid-19 infection in cell and animal tests.
 

Some experts have warned that the seasonal flu merging with the current Covid-19 pandemic may pose a larger threat to public health. However, the interaction between influenza viruses and the coronavirus remained unclear.
 

The study by researchers from Wuhan University in central China's Hubei province provides strong experimental evidence concerning the co-infection of the two respiratory viruses.
 

It reported for the first time that influenza A virus can enhance subsequent Covid-19 infection in cells and mice.
 

Researchers found that the existing infection of influenza A virus significantly promoted the entry and replication of the coronavirus in a variety of human respiratory tract cells and lung tissue cells, while it also elevated the Covid-19 viral load, leading to more severe lung damage in co-infected mice.
 

In further experiments, similar promotive effects on Covid-19 infection were not observed with several other respiratory viruses, indicating that influenza A virus has a unique ability to aggravate Covid-19 infection, and thus, the prevention of influenza infection is of great significance during the Covid-19 pandemic, the study noted.
 

Researchers recommended both influenza vaccination and Covid-19 vaccination to people with a high risk of co-infection.
 

They also emphasised that the development of novel broad-spectrum antiviral drugs targeting more than one virus is necessary for the treatment of co-infectious diseases.
 

流感病毒的感染可增强新冠病毒的感染力和杀伤力

我国已经进入冬春季流感流行季节。在新冠疫情的大环境下,流感这一常见流行病的杀伤力提高了不少,对公共卫生造成了潜在的严重威胁。
 

近日,来自武汉大学的科研团队对同时感染流感和新冠病毒的小鼠进行了研究。该论文在Cell Research期刊上在线发表,题为“Coinfection with influenza A virus enhances SARS-CoV-2 infectivity”。
 

研究通过与甲型流感病毒(IAV)和假型或活性SARS-CoV-2病毒的实验性联合感染,发现甲型流感病毒的预感染显著促进了SARS-CoV-2在广泛的细胞类型中的感染性。
 

更加值得注意的是,在与甲型流感病毒共同感染的小鼠体内观察到SARS-CoV-2病毒载量增加,肺部损伤更严重。
 

这种SARS-CoV-2感染性的增强是其他几种呼吸道病毒所没有观察到的,有可能是由于甲型流感病毒提升ACE2表达的独特功能。
 

更为重要的是,甲型流感病毒和SARS-CoV-2共感染中的增强表型是独立于干扰素信号传导的,当细胞与灭活的甲型流感病毒共感染时没有观察到(数据未显示)。因此,应建议高危人群接种流感疫苗(尤其是灭活流感疫苗)以抑制流感感染。
 

本研究说明,甲型流感病毒具有独特的加重SARS-CoV-2感染的能力,因此,在新冠病毒仍肆虐的情况下,预防流感感染具有重要意义。研究结果鼓励对合并感染进行监测。此外,保持社交距离和戴口罩有利于保护人们免受任何一种或两种病毒的传播。

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