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The triple burden of flu, RSV and COVID-19

The triple burden of flu, RSV and COVID-19

Nurse in uniform seen from the neck down, with arms folded.

In November 2022 the SARS-CoV2 Immunity and Reinfection Evaluation research, or SIREN for short, expanded to study flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

The COVID-19 pandemic provided a masterclass in how to quickly create understanding of a virus – with new scientific studies rolled out, unprecedented levels of info gathered, and scores of dedicated researchers tasked with translating this data into answers about the virus.

What is SIREN?

SIREN is a nationwide examine involving over 44,000 health care staff at 135 NHS organisations. The SIREN research was set up early in the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have been next participants for above two a long time now – collecting standard PCR swabs and blood samples from an unbelievably focused cohort of NHS staff who volunteer their time.

Flu, or influenza, is a extremely infectious respiratory virus. In the United kingdom the flu season operates from all over Oct to March, with most situations developing between December and February.

Each individual year flu is a big space of focus for healthcare staff and scientists aiming to secure the British isles populace. This involves the progress and rollout of a vaccine, supplying a seasonal facts marketing campaign on the virus, and managing people who turn into seriously unwell.

We observed minimized flu transmission ensuing in reduced flu amounts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many thanks to social distancing steps and popular use of facial area coverings. The soothing of these measures signifies that flu is circulating at bigger levels, rising the burden on healthcare options.

SIREN will also examine the affect of RSV infection on health care staff as component of this growth. Like the flu, RSV is a really infectious respiratory virus, and accounts for in excess of 50 percent a million GP appointments and over 40,000 hospitalisations a calendar year, mainly affecting younger children and the elderly.

Gaps in our know-how

This has been a difficult winter season for the NHS and we know that flu puts a pressure on the technique every yr. Learning much more about the stress of flu and other respiratory viruses on both equally the NHS and broader population is important. We do not now have correct estimates of the degrees of flu circulating among the health care workers.

One explanation for this is that we do not know how many men and women have flu without the need of suffering from signs and symptoms. In addition, we do not nonetheless realize how flu interacts with COVID-19 and what influence this may well have.  This is specially crucial now that we have moved into a stage in the pandemic wherever protection steps have minimized, and flu and COVID-19 are circulating at the very same time.

Understanding additional about flu, together with RSV and COVID-19, could help hospitals and policy makers system correctly for long term winters. It is very important to comprehend the extent of the burden respiratory viruses put on healthcare staff so that employers can glimpse right after the health and wellbeing of employees, which is significant in its have ideal and the basis of superior-quality patient care.

How is the SIREN study hunting to fill these information gaps

Analysis of SIREN samples has served the Uk to assess the immune reaction to COVID-19, provided insight into COVID-19 reinfections and has assisted us to establish an knowing of the level of defense available by vaccines. SIREN has served solution some of the most urgent concerns about COVID-19, enabling conclusion-makers – equally countrywide and regionally – to manage the spread of the sickness.

SIREN is now turning its attentions to flu and RSV as properly as COVID-19. SIREN is uniquely put to examine the effects of added respiratory viruses – building the most of the samples offered by our fantastic cohort, the data methods we have built and the analysis collaborations across the British isles we have forged, to assist remedy the most urgent queries.

Some of the essential inquiries we hope to answer are:

  • What are the levels of flu in health care employees?
  • How a lot of people today with flu have no indications?
  • How productive is the influenza vaccination towards an infection?
  • What signs and symptoms do contributors experience in the course of respiratory bacterial infections?
  • How lots of unwell times do respiratory viruses trigger in health care staff?

We would like to thank the NHS organisations, research groups and lab staff across the British isles who have built the SIREN Flu and Wintertime Pressures sub-examine achievable, in addition to each individual and each NHS staff member collaborating – we could not do this without having you.

The SIREN Flu and Wintertime Pressures sub-study is funded by UKHSA with aid from General public Health and fitness Scotland, General public Health and fitness Wales and the Public Wellness Agency Northern Ireland. We are delighted to share that the sub-review has also not long ago been awarded grant funding by Health Data Analysis Uk (HDR Uk). SIREN is just one of 16 research scientific tests preferred to examine how winter season pressures faced by the NHS can be eased.

You can obtain much more data about the SIREN examine right here.