Compass Laboratory Services—a reference laboratory in Memphis, Tennessee—recently detected two cases of simultaneous infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and Influenza A.

Both patients were young children who presented significant symptoms of respiratory infection.

“We cannot even begin to discuss the potential complications of infection by two different respiratory viruses simultaneously,” says Lloyd Finks, MD of ZupMed. “Instead, we must focus on prevention, treat with the limited tools we have and observe carefully over the months and years ahead for the consequences that we cannot yet imagine.”

This season has been dramatically different with much higher incidence of influenza as compared to last season. Combined with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron surge, the likelihood of co-infection between the two viruses increases.

With current COVID positivity test rates greater than 50% in much of Alabama, incidences of co-infection with other viruses and other bacteria will be on the rise. A recent study published in cell research shows that co-infection with the Influenza A virus potentially enhances the infectivity of the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing increased likelihood of more severe lung damage.

Compass was one of the first labs to offer COVID testing in Alabama and one of the first labs to offer testing for variants of concern. Compass continues to serve clinicians by offering a wide range of respiratory testing options.

 “As the pandemic has evolved, the needs of ordering providers have changed. Due to the increased numbers of influenza and RSV, it is more important that clinicians consider other potential infections as well as COVID-19,” says William Budd, PhD, chief scientific officer of Compass Laboratory Services. “Even though these are the first cases of ‘Flurona’ we have observed, we have seen many cases of co-infection between COVID-19 and respiratory bacterial pathogens. Clinicians need access to more extensive testing as it has been shown that nearly half of hospitalized patients with flu like illnesses are infected with more than one respiratory pathogen. Infection with multiple pathogens complicates treatment and is associated with poor outcomes”.   

Compass Laboratory Services is a specialty diagnostics company formed in 2011 with headquarters in Memphis. Compass offers pain management monitoring services and molecular diagnostics of infectious disease with product offerings for urinary tract infections, wound/surgical site infections, sexually transmitted infections, SARS-CoV-2 and respiratory infections.

Featured image: This season has been dramatically different with much higher incidence of influenza as compared to last season. Combined with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron surge, the likelihood of co-infection between the two viruses increases. Photo: Compass Laboratory Services