Genome sequencing must for rapid detection and protection of Covid-influenza co-Infection: Study

Initially, most of the cases of co-infections were children. In 2021-22, SARS-CoV-2 and influenza co-infections in India were low, and no mortality was observed.

Published: 14th April 2023 08:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th April 2023 08:04 PM   |  A+A-

coronavirus samples

Genome sequencing is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: A confirmed Covid and influenza co-infection case in Kerala has brought to focus the need for genomic surveillance for rapid response to rising cases of respiratory illness. 

A study published in Research Square said that a 10-year-old girl with low-grade fever, cough and cold was found to be co-infected. A whole-genome sequence of her throat swab confirmed that she had SARS-CoV-2 of BA.4.1 sublineage of Omicron and 2a.3 clade of H3N2 influenza. 

The study, conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) School of Public Health, ICMR- National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) Chennai, Tamil Nadu, said that the death of a patient in Kerala's Kasargod due to influenza in August 2022 triggered an outbreak response and surveillance.

Going into the history of the girl patient, the study said she did not have any associated chest pain or dyspnea, and her vitals were normal, with a clear chest.

She did not have a travel history, but three of her family members had similar symptoms and recovered after symptomatic management. The genome sequence later established Covid and Influenza co-infection. 

The patient recovered quickly with symptomatic treatment. 

"This report, therefore, highlights the importance of genomic surveillance of SARS-C0V-2 co-infections with other respiratory illnesses for understanding the prevalence of co-infections and thus their rapid detection and prevention," said the study.

Initially, most of the cases of co-infections were children. In 2021-22, SARS-CoV-2 and influenza co-infections in India were low, and no mortality was observed.

"Most of the cases reported from India occurred in paediatric patients, although these co-infections were predominantly with influenza B types. In all reported studies, however, there is a lack of associated genomic data for co-infecting viruses," said the study, whose co-author is Vinod Scaria, who is scientist at CSIR-Institute of Genomics & Integrative Biology (IGIB).

Others involved in the study included CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, District Medical Office, Kasaragod, Kerala, and Department of Microbiology, Government Medical College Calicut, Kerala.


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