Compass Laboratory Services, a reference laboratory in Memphis, TN detected two cases of simultaneous infection by the SARS-CoV2 virus and Influenza A submitted for testing this week, according to a press release.
Both patients were young children presenting with significant symptoms of respiratory infection. It is important to note that this is not a new virus but a co-infection from two different respiratory viruses.
According to Dr. Lloyd Finks of ZupMed in Memphis, TN, "We cannot even begin to discuss the potential complications of infection by two different respiratory viruses simultaneously. Instead, we must focus on prevention, treat with the limited tools we have and observe carefully over the months and years ahead for the consequences that we cannot yet imagine."
Social distancing and masking limited the number of other respiratory viral infections including influenza during the 2020-2021 season. This season has been dramatically different with much higher incidence of influenza as compared to last season. Combined with the SARS-CoV2 Omicron surge, the likelihood of co-infection between the two viruses increases. With current COVID positivity test rates greater than 50% in much of Alabama, incidences of co-infection with other viruses and other bacteria will be on the increase.
A recent study published in Cell Research shows that infection co-infection with the Influenza A virus potentially enhances the infectivity of the SARS-CoV2 virus causing increased likelihood of more severe lung damage.
Compass Laboratory Services has been an industry leader in SARS-CoV2 testing since the beginning of the pandemic. Compass was one of the first labs to offer Covid testing in Alabama and consistently has had industry leading turn-around times. In addition to standard diagnosis for the presence/absence of COVID19, Compass was one of the first labs to offer testing for variants of concern. Compass continues to serve clinicians by offering a wide range of respiratory testing options.
"As the pandemic has evolved, the needs of ordering providers have changed. Due to the increased numbers of influenza and RSV, it is more important that clinicians consider other potential infections as well as COVID-19," Dr. William Budd, Chief Scientific Officer of Compass Laboratory Services. "Even though these are the first cases of 'Flurona' we have observed, we have seen many cases of co-infection between COVID-19 and respiratory bacterial pathogens.
Clinicians need access to more extensive testing as it has been shown that nearly half of hospitalized patients with flu like illnesses are infected with more than one respiratory pathogen. Infection with multiple pathogens complicates treatment and is associated with poor outcomes".