High Functional Grade Antibodies: SARS CoV-2 and Influenza Variants
The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was first detected in November, 2021 in Botswana1 and South Africa with the first confirmed case of the variant identified in California in December, 2021 and within 3 weeks was present in 87 countries worldwide. Since its discovery, Omicron has been associated with a rapid resurgence of infections and has been designated a variant of concern by the World Health Organization. Omicron is exceptional because it carries over 30 mutations to the spike protein, leading to an increased risk of reinfection to those either vaccinated or with natural immunity2. The variant has also been proven to be highly transmissible and has surpassed the Delta variant in many regions of the world.
Recently, the first case of someone infected with the novel coronavirus and influenza was detected in Israel3. The patient was an unvaccinated pregnant woman who was experiencing mild symptoms, but this has led experts to call the combination of viruses “flurona3” and fear that it could become the next issue weighing heavily on the medical system. After a nearly flu-free winter in 2020, researchers are working diligently to try to combat the increasing number of Influenza cases. While the risk of co-infection4 remains relatively low, more research is needed to better understand the interactions between the two viruses and to see if the severity of illness is higher with co-infection.