Hospitalised Covid patients should be tested for flu', say researchers

Hospitalised Covid patients should also be tested for flu as having both ‘doubles the risk of dying’, say researchers

Covid patients in hospital should also be tested for flu as having both doubles the risk of dying, researchers say.

People infected with both Covid and the flu are more than four times more likely to need ventilation and 2.4 times more likely to die than with Covid alone, a study shows.

Researchers say the findings show the need for greater flu testing of Covid patients in hospital and the importance of full vaccination against both viruses.

It comes as Covid case numbers head towards record levels in England, with one in 16 people likely to have had it in the week to March 19, Office for National Statistics figures suggest. This is equivalent to 3.5million people, an increase from 2.7million the previous week.

People infected with both Covid and the flu are more than four times more likely to need ventilation and 2.4 times more likely to die than with Covid alone, a study shows

Infection levels among the over-70s are at their highest since estimates began, and around one in 20 have the virus – but it remains most prevalent among young children. 

The team from the University of Edinburgh, University of Liverpool, Leiden University and Imperial College London made the flu findings in a study of more than 305,000 hospitalised patients with Covid.

It looked at adults hospitalised with Covid in the UK between February 6 2020 and December 8 2021. Some 227 of these also had the flu, and they experienced much more severe outcomes.

Peter Openshaw, a professor at Imperial College London, said: ‘The vaccines that protect against Covid-19 and flu are different, and people need both.

‘The way that these two infections are treated is also different so it’s important to test for other viruses even when you have a diagnosis in someone who is hospitalised with a respiratory infection.’ The findings were published in the Lancet.


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The team from the University of Edinburgh, University of Liverpool, Leiden University and Imperial College London made the flu findings in a study of more than 305,000 hospitalised patients with Covid [File photo]

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