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Having Covid and flu at the same time – how risky is it?

Researchers have carried out a study which looked at disease severity and death data from adults who had been hospitalised with COVID-19 in the UK between 6 February 2020 and 8 December 2021, to investigate whether being co-infected with COVID-19 and flu carries a greater risk of death compared with having COVID-19 alone or having COVID-19 and another non-flu virus.

This study, which had data from more than 305,000 hospitalised patients, has been done as part of the ISARIC consortium (International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infection Consortium’s Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium) and has been published as a Correspondence article in The Lancet.

Journalists dialled in to this briefing to ask their questions of the scientists who carried out the research and to hear the scientists discuss aspects such as:

  • how big was the risk of needing invasive ventilation or of death if someone had COVID-19 and flu at the same time?
  • how common are such co-infections?
  • how can people with co-infections be best identified and appropriate treatments offered?


Speakers included:

Prof Kenneth Baillie, Professor of Experimental Medicine, University of Edinburgh

Prof Calum Semple, Professor of Outbreak Medicine and Child Health, University of Liverpool

Dr Maaike Swets, Infectious Disease Department, Leiden University Medical Centre

Dr Geert Groeneveld, Infectious Disease Specialist, Leiden University Medical Centre

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