Flu and COVID-19 viruses do not share information, so the proliferation of “flurone” cases (people with both diseases at the same time) does not increase the risk of the coronavirus evolving into more dangerous variants, An expert from the World Health Organization (WHO) said today.
“These are viruses of completely different species that use different receptors to infect, and there is not much interaction between them”, highlighted at a press conference the epidemiologist of the WHO Abdi Mahamud.
Mutations of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 They are usually generated especially in unvaccinated people, where the pathogen has a better chance of replicating, added the specialist.
The main objective must remain “Vaccinate everyone so that the chances of mutation are reduced”, highlighted Mahamud.
The expert considered normal that more cases of “flurone” are appearing than in the previous season, due to the greater relaxation in many societies, which has caused a reduction in vaccinations against influenza.
What is Flurona?
It is a name that has been given to a mixed infection by coronavirus and influenza virus detected in Israel in a pregnant woman, not vaccinated and with practically no symptoms. They have identified it, perhaps, because they have gone to look for the presence of the two viruses in that person.
Consulted by EFE, the microbiologist Jose Antonio Lopez Guerrero, director of the Department of Scientific Culture of the Center for Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa pointed out that Flurona is not a chimera formed by the genomic mixture of the two viruses, but a simultaneous infection of both.
It is something that does not have to be extraordinary with the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 as widespread as it is, he says. “Especially now, in flu season, mixed infection is something that we are surely going to see, but they will be undetectable cases unless the specific search for the flu virus genome is carried out.”
Surely there have been more cases than have been detected, but they have not been sought. If a person with certain flu symptoms undergoes a coronavirus diagnostic test and tests positive, they stop looking for other pathogens. Mixed infections may be underdiagnosed.
Does a co-infection make the result more serious?
López Guerrero indicates that it is not something mathematical that two viruses add up clinically. It may be occasionally more serious, but not necessarily; in fact, women in Israel had virtually no symptoms.
“The symptoms of a mixed infection vary, depending on the viral load with which one is infected with each of the viruses and also on age, immune status, other pathologies suffered …”, he remarked.
“I could also influence whether or not we have previously passed the coronavirus infection, if we are vaccinated against one or both viruses. More serious cases can occasionally occur, but there is a lot of casuistry around infections ”, he concluded.
With information from EFE