A study by researchers at Miami University suggests that people vaccinated against the flu may be partially protected from some serious symptoms of the new coronavirus. The survey was conducted with 75,000 patients with covid-19.
The researchers compared data from 37,377 people who received the flu vaccine to 37,377 others infected with SARS-CoV-2 who were not vaccinated against the flu. The analysis of the study showed that among those who received the flu vaccine, there was a significant reduction in symptoms such as stroke, deep vein thrombosis and generalized infections, in addition to a lower probability of admission to the ICU.
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The study results were presented at an online meeting of the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. According to the survey, patients with covid-19 who were not vaccinated against the flu had up to 58% higher risk of having a stroke and up to 45% higher risk of suffering serious infections. They were also more likely to be admitted to an ICU.
Although related to reducing severe disease symptoms, the flu vaccine did not reduce the number of deaths from covid-19.
Experts believe that the flu vaccine contributes to an improvement in the defense against SARS-CoV-2 because of a process called “trained immunity”, which is activated in the body after the application of the immunizer.
When receiving the vaccine annually, the body’s defense system is strengthened and triggers an increased pro-inflammatory response, which is able to protect against other types of pathogens. This has already been seen in children who, by taking the BCG and measles vaccines, achieved greater immunity against other pathogens.
“It may be that the flu vaccine non-specifically stimulates the immune system and has this benefit, but you always wonder if these associations are causal or if there is a common factor,” said Professor Peter Openshaw, member of the group. advice on respiratory virus threats from the UK in an interview with The Guardian newspaper. Another hypothesis raised by Openshaw is that people who have access to the flu vaccine have better overall health rates.
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