A new Dutch study suggests that getting a flu shot could help reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus infection, as well as that of serious complications from Covid-19.
Statistical analysis suggesting lower risk of contracting Covid-19
New preliminary research by a team of immunologists from theRadboud University, to the Netherlands, suggest a possible cross-protection against Covid-19 induced influenza vaccine, recommended annually to reduce the risk of infection in groups considered at risk. As part of this work accessible from the prepublication server MedRxiv, the researchers specifically studied the link between this vaccination, the incidence of Covid-19 and the outcome of the disease, based on data from one of the country’s largest teaching hospitals.
Their analyzes showed that employees of the Radboud University Medical Center having received a influenza vaccine during the 2019-2020 winter season were 39% less likely to test positive Covid-19 as of June 1, 2020, with only 1.33% of vaccinated hospital staff testing positive compared to 2.23% of unvaccinated employees.
According to the team, the quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine can induce a trained immune response (where the body’s innate immune cells are reprogrammed and respond more quickly and efficiently to future infections with pathogens). This would result in particular in the production of immune proteins, called cytokines, improved, allowing the body to fight more effectively against the SARS-CoV-2 and therefore limiting the risk of serious complications.
“No definitive proof”
As intriguing as these results are, ” they do not provide definitive evidence “, According to Ellen foxman, pathologist at the medical school of Yale, who believes that these could be linked to the fact that people vaccinated against the flu were more inclined to take precautions during the pandemic. Knowing that the number of direct interactions between hospital staff and hospitalized patients or the underlying illnesses likely to promote infection could not be assessed.
” Studies like these show correlations but do not establish cause and effect links », Notes for his part Maziar Divangahi, a pulmonary immunologist from the Research Institute of McGill University Health Center. ” Determining whether influenza vaccines actually prevent Covid-19 will require major clinical trials at the general population level. “