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Does SARS-CoV-2 infection with other respiratory viruses increase severity of disease?

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Manish Saini
Manish works as a Journalist and writer at Revyuh.com. He has studied Political Science and graduated from Delhi University. He is a Political engineer, fascinated by politics, and traditional businesses. He is also attached to many NGO's in the country and helping poor children to get the basic education. Email: Manish (at) revyuh (dot) com

The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has already claimed more than 4 million lives worldwide as of July 2021 and continues to pose a serious public health risk.

Many patients with COVID-19 are also infected with additional viruses; however, it is unclear whether coinfection is associated with poorer clinical outcomes in these patients or not.

Co-infection with SARS-CoV-2 and another non-influenza virus, according to recent reports, is possible; however, the impact of this co-infection on clinical outcomes is unclear.

According to some authors, viral coinfection is associated with poorer clinical outcomes in the majority of cases. Observations have shown that patients with respiratory coinfections have more complications, have more severe disease, and have a higher rate of ICU admission.

The authors of this paper used the results of a respiratory pathogen panel (RPP) in patients with SARS-CoV-2 to determine whether coinfection (i.e., SARS-CoV-2 positivity in addition to another respiratory virus) was associated with more severe presentation and outcomes.

All patients with negative influenza/respiratory syncytial virus testing who underwent RPP testing at a large, academic medical centre in New York within 7 days of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test were evaluated. A comparison was made between patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 but did not test positive for a virus by RPP and patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 but did not test positive for a virus by RPP in terms of biomarkers, oxygen requirements, and severe COVID-19 outcome, which was defined as needing mechanical ventilation or dying within 30 days.

According to the findings, 14 (4.6 percent) of the 306 SARS-CoV-2-positive patients who underwent RPP testing also tested positive for a virus other than influenza (coinfected). Patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 but did not have a positive RPP had higher levels of inflammatory markers and were significantly more likely to be admitted (P = 0.01) compared to the coinfected group. 111 patients (36.3 percent) in the SARS-CoV-2-only group and 3 patients (21.4 percent) in the coinfected group experienced severe COVID-19 outcomes (P = 0.24).

As a result, the researchers conclude that patients who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 in combination with a non-influenza respiratory virus had less severe disease on presentation and were more likely to be admitted than those who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 alone, but did not have more severe outcomes.

The findings were published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

Image Credit: Getty

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