BioScience Trends. 2022;16(5):374-376. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2022.01297)

The role of influenza in the era of COVID-19: Can we forget it?

Li T, Asakawa T, Liu H, Chu C, Lu HZ


COVID-19 has been a topic of interest since a pandemic struck in 2019. The morbidity of influenza tended to decrease due to the measures to prevent COVID-19. Indeed, influenza seems to be "ignored" in this era of COVID-19. However, influenza has not disappeared from the scene. Presented here are two examples of recent influenza epidemics in China and Australia. Possible interactions between COVID-19 and influenza are discussed. Measures against COVID-19 may reduce contact with influenza, subsequently reducing adaptive immunity against influenza in the general population. Influenza might not be center stage right now, but insufficient adaptive immunity in the population may potentially trigger a future influenza pandemic. Coinfection with COVID-19 and influenza might potentially be a thorny problem. Hence, influenza cannot be ignored. Governments around the world should take measures to prepare for a possible influenza pandemic in the future.

KEYWORDS: COVID-19, influenza, coinfection, pandemic

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