Covid: who is more at risk of Herpes Zoster, similar flu symptoms,

from Laura Della PasquaLaura Della Pasqua

1. Risk of Herpes Zoster for those who have been infected

2. Early flu, Covid-like symptoms

3. Monoclonal antibodies not very effective with the new variants

1. Risk of Herpes Zoster for those who have been infected

The list of effects of Covid is getting longer. A study by Health Search, the research unit of the Italian Society of General Medicine and Primary Care (Simg), revealed that those who have contracted the virus run as much as 40% more risk of getting Herpes Zoster. The research is based on the observation of approximately 1 million assisted by family doctors. Francesco Lapi, director of Health Search, explained that “they are the first Italian data of this kind produced by general medicine, the main setting for this type of observation and our study will be the subject of scientific publications”. Now further analyzes will be needed, because, Lapi underlined, “we don’t have a statistically significant association but a clear trend has certainly emerged”. In the light of these results, “the message to give to people for whom the anti-Zoster vaccination is recommended – mainly over 64, over 50 with cardiological, cerebrovascular and metabolic diseases and those who have already had previous episodes – is not to hesitate to do the co-vaccination for Covid and Zoster”.

2. Early flu, Covid-like symptoms

The flu arrived a month early and the symptoms are similar to Covid. According to the Influnet report, in mid-November the flu cases were what you normally would have in mid-December. The worrying figure is the high incidence in the 0-4 age range, but above all in the 5-14 age range, where in the space of one week there was an increase of 41% on the previous one. Forecasts indicate that it will be a rather large epidemic also in light of the fact that the worst in the last 5 years was recorded in Australia.

THE symptoms are the same as in past seasons, i.e. a variable combination of high fever, dry and scratchy cough, headache, tiredness and weakness, chills, muscle and joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite. Symptoms similar to Covid.

According to doctors, the best prevention is wearing a mask and avoiding crowded places. A study of Frontiers in Public Health indicates that generally in Covid patients the fever develops first followed by a pecking cough while in seasonal flu, people usually develop the cough before the fever. These are general indications and therefore the only certainty comes from the examination with a swab.

3. Monoclonal antibodies not very effective with the new variants

A study conducted by the University of Tokyo evaluated the effectiveness of various antivirals and monoclonal antibodies authorized for the treatment of Covid, on the BA.4.6 variant, currently dominant in the United States. The results show that all monoclonal antibodies tested individually (casirivimab, imdevimab, tixagevimab, cilgavimab, sotromivab) and in some cases in combination they have reduced activity against this variant compared to their effect on the parent strain of the virus. The effect of bebtelovimab, on the other hand, was virtually unchanged from before.

The antiviralssuch as remdesivir, molnupiravir, and nirmatrelvir, instead they retained their effectiveness. “The results obtained through this research – comment the Japanese researchers – will not only help in the appropriate selection of therapeutic drugs, but will also allow to evaluate the risk of each strain”.