26 Jul 2022 21:52

Influenza returns after 2-year pause due to coronavirus - Russian scientist

NOVOSIBIRSK. June 26 (Interfax) - The full-scale flu spread has resumed in the human population after a break in 2020-2021, head of the laboratory of molecular virology at the St. Petersburg-based Research Institute of Influenza Andrei Komissarov said.

"If in 2020 and in 2021 there was practically no influenza, now influenza is completely back, there are also combined infections with coronavirus. Influenza has not gone anywhere from the infectious pathological scene, it is there, as are other respiratory infections, in particular, rhinovirus infections, adenovirus infections, parainfluenza and so on," the scientist said at the Synthetic Biology and Biopharmaceuticals conference in Novosibirsk on Tuesday.

He said the Influenza Research Institute will launch a project to sequence tens of thousands of SARS-CoV-2 genomes this fall. Increased sequencing is required to understand the link between coronavirus mutations and the clinical picture of the disease. At the same time, it is vitally important to perform genome sequencing as quickly as possible, as in highly developed countries it takes less than a week from taking a sample to obtaining a full genomic sequence, Komissarov said.

He added that so-called immunocompromised patients, such as those with HIV and lymphoma, become "incubators" for the coronavirus and the emergence of new subspecies, as evidenced by the data from South Africa and other studies. In particular, in a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma female patient in St. Petersburg who had Covid-19 intermittently for 318 days, a number of specific mutations that emerged during that time were identified in the coronavirus genome. "This is an evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in one female patient," the scientist said.