Autumn opens the door to three viruses: the triplendemic is on its way

What happens if, in the same period of time, three viruses potentially capable of infecting especially children and the elderly meet in the same social context? Experts are asking this in these days of ‘stagnant’ Covid infections, but on the possible increase, grappling with the autumn-winter pandemic forecasts. US scientists are asking this, while on the one hand they have seen Covid infections decrease, on the other they are recording flu syndromes on the rise, but above all infections from RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). And they dubbed this new scenario ‘triplendemic’. Three viruses in action at the same time, Covid, more flu, more RSV, cause fear of rising numbers and high social costs to be incurred.

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Three viruses on the attack

The breeding ground for the three viruses in question is precisely what autumn is creating. He explains it Giovanni Maga, director of the Cnr of Pavia: “The alarm raised by the United States is valid for all countries. It derives from the fact that the autumn-winter season has always been characterized by the circulation of two viruses: RSV, which mainly affects children, is the cause of bronchiolitis or bronchial affections in children, and in Europe it causes tens of thousands of cases a year, as well as unfortunately also deaths. But above all there are no preventive measures, ie vaccines, to combat it. And already now in hospitals there are cases of Rsv “. Then there is the influence which, Maga continues, “begins to make itself felt predominantly in December and continues until February”. To these two viruses, she stresses, in the cold season that is beginning, “the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 is added”.

Ema launches the contagion alarm

It is the EMA (European Medicines Agency) that gives an idea of ​​the climate we will experience in the coming weeks. “We expect Covid and influenza to circulate simultaneously during the fall and winter,” he said Marco Cavaleri, head of the EMA vaccination strategy, stressing: “This is why vulnerable people will be at greater risk. Joint vaccination campaigns are underway in many countries. Therefore we invite suitable citizens to take advantage of them.” “We are closely following the new sub-variants of the virus” which mutates at a rate “faster than it could ever be in vaccine adaptation,” Cavaleri continued. Remarking: “We should only consider adapting vaccines when the difference between the strains in circulation and the composition of the vaccines themselves becomes relevant.”

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Get infected? Very likely

But how likely will it be to get infected in the cold months that await us in a climate of ‘triplendemic’? Maga again replies: “The probability of potentially contracting the three diseases, namely Covid, influenza and RSV, is not the most insignificant, and this must be the subject of much attention – emphasizes the virologist -. We take into account that children are not vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, and they are little against the flu, although the vaccine in the latter case is available (it can be done from 6 months) and recommended especially in children because in schools and kindergartens it is easy to get infected . But the response to vaccination is not often high because parents underestimate its importance. “

“We are entering a period of risk”

The question, at this point, is the same that has been recurring for months: what should we expect? “Covid infections have marked a small growth in recent weeks, then they stabilized and finally gradually decreased – explains Maga -. We are entering a period of risk, with possible new variants that can cause a new increase in infections. Consequently, also considering the fact that the preventive measures in schools have been removed, we should expect a further spread of SARS-CoV-2 “.
Some elements to reflect on, for the virologist, are also these: “In the pediatric age, the infection causes mild symptoms, and the long Covid in children causes unclear symptoms; to this we add the prediction that the new flu season should have a stronger impact than in the past “.

The solution: get vaccinated

So what to do? “We extend the vaccination campaign as much as possible to the pediatric age, both against Covid and against the flu – replies Maga -. Because already at the beginning of the pandemic it was seen that the elderly who had been given the flu vaccine had an organism more protected against the virus Rsv. But even adults I would recommend to get vaccinated against flu and Covid “.
Because new variants are around the corner. “It is true that the population has significant acquired immunity: I am talking about those who received the vaccination, but also about those who were infected and recovered – concludes Maga -. However, the fact that new variants are circulating that are able to better overcome the Immune barrier created by vaccination or illness does not reassure us, also because, in addition to serious cases, which could increase, we would have to face important social costs: I am referring, for example, to sick days for workers and compromised services. let’s get vaccinated, if we can at the same time against Covid and flu “.

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WHO’s invitation: “Get both vaccines”

An invitation, that of choosing to vaccinate against both viruses, which the WHO (World Health Organization) has already signed. “With the arrival of autumn and winter, a resurgence of the flu is also foreseeable. – the Health Commissioner wrote in a joint statement. Stella Kyriakidesthe WHO Regional Director for Europe, Hans Henri P. Kluge and the director of the ECDC, Andrea Ammon -. In light of this, we reconfirm the need to protect the health of people, especially the most vulnerable, by using all available tools, including vaccination. Preparation measures must continue in the European Region, we must not let our guard down “.

Vulnerable people are more at risk

“The potential co-circulation of Covid and seasonal flu – they concluded – will put vulnerable people at greater risk of serious illness and death, with the likelihood of greater pressure on both hospitals and health workers, already exhausted for almost three years in frontline in the pandemic. We must avoid the burden of this co-circulation on our health systems. Along with public health measures, vaccination remains one of our most effective tools against both viruses. “

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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