Two strains of the influenza virus have disappeared thanks to Covid-19?

The world has been facing the health crisis of the new coronavirus for almost two years. There have been more than 3.7 million deaths worldwide since the epidemic broke out in November 2019. Covid-19 has also infected almost 173 million people.

In short, the numbers are dramatic. But the pandemic obviously has its positive effects as well. For example, a new report reveals that the appearance of the coronavirus may have led to the disappearance of two strains of the influenza virus.

A decrease due to barrier gestures

The pandemic has largely brought flu cases down to incredibly low levels. According to experts, this is due to wearing a mask and the hygiene measures taken to contain the spread of Covid-19. This is because the flu can spread from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes and disperses infected droplets in the air.

The disease can also be transmitted through an infected hand. Scientists now assume that due to the sharp decline in flu transmission in recent months, several pathogens may have disappeared.

To facilitate vaccine production?

The information was reported from the Statnews site. According to this media, two strains of the influenza virus have not been seen on the radar for almost a year. A situation that would affect all countries. Doctors are not yet entirely sure of this finding. But if it really is, it could make vaccine production easier.

As Science Alert notes, laboratories prepare vaccines several months before the flu season each year. These are developed based on the strains that are most likely to emerge. The fact that the virus is less diverse should therefore make it possible to focus on something more urgent like making vaccines against Covid-19.

Two main families of viruses

Note that there are two main families of influenza viruses: influenza A and influenza B. Influenza A viruses, scientifically known as influenza A virus, are divided into subtypes based on two different proteins: hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N ). Each subtype is divided into “clades” or stems. Influenza B viruses do not have subtypes or clades. Instead, they are split into two lines: B / Yamagata and B / Victoria. The H3N2 strain, known as 3c3.A, has not been detected since March 2020. This also applies to the B / Yamagata line.

An unprecedented situation

According to Richard Webby, director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center for Studies of the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds in Memphis, that doesn’t mean these strains have ceased to exist.

Flu: review of the 2019-2020 season. Infographic credit: Public Health France Health

However, the dramatic decrease in the number of cases recorded over the past 15 months is unprecedented and therefore deserves to be highlighted as it can transform the diversity of influenza viruses. “There’s no doubt that this will make a difference when it comes to the diversity of influenza viruses,” said Webby, reports Live Science.

The essential barrier gestures. Photo credit: Shutterstock / Khaohom Mali

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