HomeLifestyleThe Real Reasons Your Family Is Sick Right Now

The Real Reasons Your Family Is Sick Right Now

Some changes are happening to the normal seasonal streams of cold and flu viruses. They slowed down in a move during the early part of the Covid pandemic only to explode through the human population this year. Some public health experts have called it a “tripledemic”, but it can also be called a quadrupledemic.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu began peaking in October, months before its normal season. This year has seen a rapid increase in two other viruses, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and adenovirus. These usually cause colds, but RSV can be dangerous for young children and has recently caused overcrowding in children’s hospitals. Adenovirus is also usually mild, but this month there were reports of the virus putting college athletes in the ICU, and it has been implicated in clusters of dangerous hepatitis cases in children.

Why now? The simple answer is that mask-wearing for more than two years reduced the incidence of these viruses, and people subsequently lost immunity – what the popular press dubbed “immunity debt”. But this is unlikely to be the whole story. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and host of a podcast on Covid, said that the circulation patterns of different viruses seem to be influencing each other in ways that cannot be explained.

“When there are multiple respiratory viruses circulating in a given season, one of them will become dominant for reasons we don’t understand,” he said on the podcast. “There’s something going on that just can’t be attributed to personal safety [or] distance.

Some other researchers made a similar observation this week in Science. “Flu and other respiratory viruses and SARS-CoV-2 don’t go together very well,” virologist Richard Webby told the magazine. Or as epidemiologist Ben Cowling of the University of Hong Kong put it, “one virus tries to bully others.”

This means that viral interference may be more of a factor than immune debt.

Osterholm points out that other viruses were similarly suppressed during the H1N1 flu outbreak in 2009. “For the first time in years, we didn’t see other influenza strains like H3N2 and or any RSV activity. It just disappeared,” he said. “It can’t be because of mitigation, because we didn’t do mitigation.”

He said he also doubted that mitigation was as effective against RSV and flu as it was not very effective against Covid – by February 2022 more than 75% of children had been infected. Osterholm points to previous research showing that while N95 masks work, there’s little evidence behind loose-fitting cloth mask types in school settings (though closing schools has hindered the course of other seasonal viruses). Might be possible).

Viral interference may provide a more complete explanation. Our innate immune system includes disease-fighting substances called interferons, which can protect people infected with one virus from becoming infected with another virus. That’s why, as a large study from the University of Glasgow published in 2019 showed, as flu viruses increase, cold viruses decrease.

Others, such as infectious disease expert Jeremy Luban of Harvard Medical School, said human behavior is still playing a role in our changing viral streams. The lockdown, though brief in many places, may be sufficient to change the seasonal pattern. And many US schools remained closed for much longer than businesses. If we survive a season or two of flu, RSV and adenovirus, there may be less immunity to them in the population later.

They said it could help explain mysterious clusters of hepatitis that began last spring in 35 countries around the world — in some cases, leading to liver transplants. The latest finding, which came out at a major meeting earlier this month, points to a co-infection of two interacting viruses.

One was an adenovirus and the other was an adeno-associated virus. This virus, called AAV2, requires an adenovirus to replicate. In several recent studies, almost all children with hepatitis were positive for AAV2, but none of the children in the control group were. Similar infections could have occurred before the Covid era, but only became noticeable when there was an abnormal increase in adenoviruses after Covid mitigation measures were lifted.

Andrew Reed, a biologist who studies pathogen evolution at Penn State University, said they would not rule out mitigation as a factor in the viral surges we are seeing now. He says it is possible that these other viruses are naturally less transmissible than SARS-CoV-2, so their spread was suppressed for a few years by the same measures that failed to contain Covid. But it is not known whether a year or two of reduced transmission will have a significant impact on population immunity. “We don’t really have good data on that,” he said.

He said he is particularly concerned about the adenovirus cases, which reportedly sent several University of Michigan hockey players to the hospital and at least one to the ICU. “The idea that there’s a problem with young people from adenovirus — it’s really striking,” he said. This may be a fluke – the tip of a larger iceberg of mild adenovirus cases. But it could also be something more worrying. “We are in new territory,” he said.

This leaves the question whether all these flu, RSV and adenovirus cases will flood the population with interferons that can mitigate the next wave of Covid. There’s already something strange going on — a new Omicron wave called BQ.1.1 has begun, but as physician Eric Topol writes in his newsletter, this is the first new variant to show a spike in cases or hospitalizations. has become effective without creating a new wave.

I am cautiously optimistic that we will not see a massive quadruple pandemic this winter, if only because Covid may be crowded out by other viruses. But as we learned just over a year ago, when Omicron hits, Covid can always hit us with anything from left field.

This column does not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

The text of this story is published from a wire agency feed without any modification. Only the headline has been changed.

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Hello Friends, My Name is Raushan Kumar. I am a Part-Time Blogger and Student. I am author of https://searchnews.in . We're dedicated to providing you the best of News, with a focus on Business, Health, Lifestyle, World, Tech, India, Gadget.
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