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Influenza may facilitate the spread of SARS-CoV-2

September 10, 2020

View ORCID ProfileMatthieu Domenech de Celles, View ORCID ProfileJean-Sebastien Casalegno, View ORCID ProfileBruno Lina, View ORCID ProfileLulla Opatowski

doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.09.07.20189779

This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review [what does this mean?]. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.

PDF: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.07.20189779v1.full.pdf

Abstract

As in past pandemics, co-circulating pathogens may play a role in the epidemiology of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Here we hypothesized that influenza interacted with SARS-CoV-2 during the early 2020 epidemic of COVID-19 in Europe. We developed a population-based model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, combined with mortality incidence data in four European countries, to test a range of assumptions about the impact of influenza. We found consistent evidence for a 2-2.5-fold population-level increase in SARS-CoV-2 transmission associated with influenza during the period of co-circulation. These results suggest the need to increase vaccination against influenza, not only to reduce the burden due to influenza viruses, but also to counteract their facilitatory impact on SARS-CoV-2.

Competing Interest Statement

MDdC received postdoctoral funding (2017-2019) from Pfizer and consulting fees from GSK. JSC declares no competing interests. BL is chair of the ISC for the Global Influenza Surveillance Network, and co-chair of the Global Influenza and RSV initiative; he is also a member of the French COVID-19 Scientific Committee (no personal income for all these activities). LO has received consulting fees from WHO for work on antimicrobial resistance.

Funding Statement

No specific funding was used for this study.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.07.20189779v1

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