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Papers of the Week

2022 Jul

PNAS Nexus



SARS-CoV-2 and influenza coinfection throughout the COVID-19 pandemic: an assessment of coinfection rates, cohort characteristics, and clinical outcomes.


Pawlowski C, Silvert E, O'Horo JC, Lenehan PJ, Challener D, Gnass E, Murugadoss K, Ross J, Speicher L, Geyer H, Venkatakrishnan AJ, Badley AD, Soundararajan V
PNAS Nexus. 2022 Jul; 1(3):pgac071.
PMID: 35860600.


Case reports of patients infected with COVID-19 and influenza virus ("flurona") have raised questions around the prevalence and severity of coinfection. Using data from , and , we analyzed trends in SARS-CoV-2 and influenza hospitalized coinfection cases and strain prevalences. We also characterized coinfection cases across the rise from January 2020 to April 2022. We compared expected and observed coinfection case counts across different waves of the pandemic and assessed symptoms and outcomes of coinfection and COVID-19 monoinfection cases after propensity score matching on clinically relevant baseline characteristics. From both the Mayo Clinic and nationwide datasets, the observed coinfection rate for SARS-CoV-2 and influenza has been higher during the Omicron era (2021 December 14 to 2022 April 2) compared to previous waves, but no higher than expected assuming infection rates are independent. At the Mayo Clinic, only 120 coinfection cases were observed among 197,364 SARS-CoV-2 cases. Coinfected patients were relatively young (mean age: 26.7 years) and had fewer serious comorbidities compared to monoinfected patients. While there were no significant differences in 30-day hospitalization, ICU admission, or mortality rates between coinfected and matched COVID-19 monoinfection cases, coinfection cases reported higher rates of symptoms including congestion, cough, fever/chills, headache, myalgia/arthralgia, pharyngitis, and rhinitis. While most coinfection cases observed at the Mayo Clinic occurred among relatively healthy individuals, further observation is needed to assess outcomes among subpopulations with risk factors for severe COVID-19 such as older age, obesity, and immunocompromised status.