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Differences between the symptoms of coronavirus and influenza

Traditionally, with the beginning of winter, the incidence of seasonal flu also increases. In the current epidemic season, there is a likelihood of contracting the coronavirus, which is only gaining speed. What is the danger of this new tandem? Some experts are convinced that together “two in one” are capable of inflicting a fatal blow on the human body. Others – that two viruses in one organism do not get along, and once in a healthy cell, one virus will definitely displace the other.

Who is right? And what is the current situation with the incidence of seasonal flu? What should a sick person do if he contracted the flu and coronavirus at the same time?

According to Rospotrebnadzor, by the end of November, the epidemic threshold for SARS was exceeded in 42 regions of Russia. So far, fortunately, “the incidence is caused by respiratory viruses not of influenza etiology, but these are: parainfluenza, adenoviruses, RS viruses.” And the excess over the last week of November was recorded mainly among the adult population. Although usually ARI and ARVI are the first to pick up children. But this year, perhaps, the children are saved by disunity: in many regions, due to the coronavirus pandemic, kindergartens, schools are closed, circles and other out-of-school sections do not work.

And the peak of the influenza epidemic in the current epidemic season may be shifted to a later (or earlier?) Time. However, the highest rise in seasonal flu has always occurred during the winter period. And now “according to Rospotrebnadzor, the flu epidemic in Russia will begin in the 5-6th week of 2021). That is, in mid-February. But, as other experts believe, “a sharp rise in the incidence of influenza and SARS is possible during a thaw.” And the thaw, as we can see, did not stop this year. Rather, the real winter has not yet begun.

And yet, the main danger of the current epidemic season, according to our permanent expert, infectious disease specialist, MD, professor Nikolai Malyshev, is that a person can immediately become infected with both coronavirus and seasonal flu.

– Simultaneous infection with influenza and COVID-19 is possible, – Nikolai Alexandrovich is convinced. – Both viruses can enter the human body both at the same time and in turn. Together they will greatly worsen the state of health. First of all, both viruses hit the respiratory system, which provokes a serious complication – pneumonia. And all this can have very serious consequences for the body, which will be difficult to cope with.

The sick person himself is unlikely to be able to distinguish the flu from the coronavirus. In both cases, the symptoms are similar: with the disease, the temperature rises, there is a cough, runny nose, sore throat, weakness, and congestion in the chest. Both viruses are transmitted by airborne droplets. And the most dangerous complication they have is intractable pneumonia.

But there are still differences between influenza and covid, and everyone needs to know about them, the expert believes.

Flu symptoms. At the very beginning, its main difference and the most frequent is the high temperature. The disease progresses rapidly: fever, sharp headache, especially in the area of ​​the brow, muscle aches. But on the first day there is no runny nose or cough. Only on the 2-3rd day begins a sharp hysterical cough, there is a heaviness in the chest.

With coronavirus disease: there is also a temperature, but it is moderate (in 90% of those infected with the COVID-19 virus, the temperature rose to 37.5-38.5 degrees), in most cases, the sense of smell disappears. And always – a dry cough, severe muscle pain, heaviness in the chest, heart palpitations. Sometimes – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; there is confusion. And a high temperature (39-40 degrees) with covid is also possible, but, as a rule, with a severe complication.

Both viruses are already walking in our country and in Moscow. Influenza in this epidemic season (according to WHO) is in four types at once, three of which are new – and they were not widespread in our Northern Hemisphere before.

The most active and dangerous of the influenza viruses for humans this winter and spring of 2021 will be the following strains: A (H1N1); A (H3N2); B (Victoria) and B (Brisbane). The latest strain B (Brisbane) has been a nightmare on the planet for many years in a row. But, fortunately, it is not one of the extremely dangerous viruses for humans. Swine flu is considered a pandemic (strain A (H1N1). Here it is able to quickly infect a person, dramatically weaken the immune system and cause serious complications. It is more often than others and is detected in sick people.

Therefore, as Professor Nikolai Aleksandrovich Malyshev advises, “now it is especially important to observe all hygienic and sanitary safety measures: not to attend mass events and not to arrange them yourself, especially in closed rooms. When in public places and transport, it is imperative to wear protective masks and maintain a social distance (keeping a meter apart) – this is a requirement of Rospotrebnadzor. And upon returning home, wash your hands thoroughly with soap, rinse the mucous membranes of the nose with soap and water, take a shower. And also: drink vitamins, give up bad habits, eat more vegetables and fruits ”.

Still, it is good news that this year, in late fall and early winter, there have been few cases of seasonal flu reported globally. This was confirmed by the World Health Organization. Moreover, the incidence of influenza at this time was 98% lower compared to the same period last year. Experts suggest that this is most likely due to the restrictions on contacts adopted in all countries, with the fact that many shops, entertainment establishments, gyms and stadiums are closed, schoolchildren, students, and other students have been transferred to distance learning …

But scientists do not agree with this, believing that it is difficult for two viruses in one organism to get along. And they support their point of view with research: “if a person is infected with one virus, he is less likely to get simultaneously infected with another. During viral intervention, the human immune system, fighting against one virus, will attack another. That is, once in a healthy cell, one virus effectively displaces the other. “

Well, if that’s really the case.

The danger of black bread is revealed

Nutritionists have stated that black bread is dangerous for people with diabetes. There are too many additives in it that can cause a spike in blood sugar. Writes about this Express. In addition, not too responsible producers can disguise wheat bread under rye with the help of dyes. Therefore, doctors recommend carefully studying the composition of the product on the package.

Nutritionists have banned diabetics from eating rye bread

Nutritionists have stated that black bread is dangerous for people with diabetes. There are too many additives in it that can cause a spike in blood sugar. Writes about this Express. In addition, not too responsible producers can disguise wheat bread under rye with the help of dyes. Therefore, doctors recommend carefully studying the composition of the product on the package.

Previously, doctors recommended rye bread for diabetics as an alternative to a wheat loaf. Wheat has too high a glycemic index (the relative level of carbohydrates in the food) and can cause a sharp rise in sugar in diabetics. Now nutritionists claim that the optimal use of whole grains – quinoa, bulgur, rye, buckwheat, barley, brown rice. These foods contain not only complex carbohydrates, which help to avoid sharp fluctuations in blood sugar, but also fiber. It regulates the activity of the intestines and thus helps the entire body.

In addition, British doctors recommend compulsory physical activity for diabetes. This is not a specific sport. Each person should choose what suits him best. But being active is a prerequisite for wellness in diabetes.

Experts told whether it is worth waiting for a new pharmacy crisis

The crisis that developed during the pandemic, on the one hand, gave an impetus to the development of the drug market in the country, on the other hand, exacerbated the problems that existed before it. Experts spoke about this during the round table “COVID-19 as a test of the strength of the country’s drug supply system”, which took place in the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation.

From February 1 in Russia it is planned to restart the marking system

According to the head of the OP Commission for Economic Development and Corporate Social Responsibility Yevgeny Nifantiev, in recent years the drug supply system in the country has demonstrated stability, but today it is under attack, and not even under one. “In fact, the system survived in March when there were interruptions in paracetamol. We must pay tribute to the participants in the pharmaceutical market and regulators, who then worked in a single burst and went through a difficult period. “

However, the problems with medicines began long before the pandemic. The head of the League of Patients, Alexander Saversky, recalled that over the past year, according to data from various sources, from 170 to 270 drugs were excluded from the State Register of Medicines. The situation with prednisone was indicative, which disappeared in April, but the defect (absence in pharmacies) was officially recognized only in October. “The main problem has not been resolved: we do not know the needs of the population for medicines. And we do not need a law on drug circulation, but a law on drug provision, ”the expert said.

Industry representatives noted that the most serious tests for the market this year were a rash pricing system (due to the fact that manufacturers were forced to sell drugs below cost, many left the market) and the introduction of a completely unfinished drug labeling mechanism at the height of the pandemic.

Alexander Martynenko, a representative of the Association of International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, said that the pandemic has pressed on acute problems. Secretary of the Russian Society of Physicians, Russian pulmonologist Andrei Malyavin urged doctors not to prescribe ineffective and harmful drugs to patients with COVID. “Now a real orgy with polypharmacy: dozens of medications are prescribed to patients. Yesterday I consulted a patient from Omsk, who was prescribed 22 drugs at once. Antibiotic prescriptions are rampant everywhere. This is not pneumonia at all, this is not a bacterial infection – antibiotics should never be prescribed for the purpose of prevention! Today we are already faced with severe complications after treatment with them, for example, with pseudomembranous colitis. Now there is not only free sale, but also distribution of azithromycin and levofloxacin to the population. In the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, we see that it is necessary to prescribe antibiotics to such patients only on the basis of research results, but in reality they are distributed free to everyone. This is not only the formation of superinfections, but also wasted money. The All-Russian Health Organization has unequivocally refused to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to patients with coronavirus, and in our country they continue to poison people, this is a toxic drug. If we talk about antivirals, then there are no direct antiviral drugs against SARS-CoV-2, just like there are none for any other ARVI. We need to calm down and wait patiently for them to appear. Another of our all-Russian fun is the fascination with interferon inducers and interferons. Both poor and excessive immunity pose a threat in COVID-19. All severe manifestations of the disease are associated with excessive immunity, and this situation cannot be spurred on. Pigelated interferons are good for chronic infections, and it makes no sense to bet on them in the treatment of coronavirus infection: their bioavailability does not exceed 3%, ”the expert said.

But there is good news as well. COVID-19 can be effectively treated even now – groups of drugs that have a good effect are known. These are steroid hormones and anticoagulants (direct and indirect action).

Most patients with COVID-19 get sick easily, and they do not need to be treated with anything at all, the expert emphasized. “I hope that reason will prevail, and the Ministry of Health will remove dangerous and ineffective drugs from clinical guidelines for COVID-19,” the doctor said.

In addition, the expert stressed that today the situation with the treatment of patients is greatly complicated by unfair competition. For example, we still massively put heavy patients on mechanical ventilation, while non-invasive ventilation of the lungs gives a much lower mortality rate. “But today we have 800 patients on mechanical ventilation, and only 12 people on non-invasive ventilation, which are mainly used at the Sklifosovsky Institute, Burdenko hospital, First Honey clinic, and there are excellent results. Why this is happening, I do not know, ”said Andrei Malyavin.

Participants in a vaccination experiment are denied a “real” vaccination: injected with a placebo

A scandal is brewing in medical circles. Quite a few participants in the third phase of the experiment to test the vaccine against COVID-19 said that they were injected with a placebo, and now they are denied a real vaccination, even those who left the study. “They violate our right to health care,” wrote one health worker on a social network, “despite the fact that our president pointed out the need for priority vaccination of doctors and educators.”

The specialist explained why there are no antibodies after vaccination

Here is one of the messages of a participant in the experiment: “I tested the blood for antibodies. Blood was taken on the 44th day after the 1st injection, on the 23rd day after the 2nd injection. The result is negative, the coefficient of IgG positivity is 0.22. IgM positivity coefficient – 0.21 (coefficient for a positive result must be greater than 1.1) ”.

Simply put, after two stages of the vaccine administration, the person did not have the proper amount of antibodies to the coronavirus. And now he, a doctor by profession, intends to go to the polyclinic and demand that he, as a specialist from the risk group, be given a real vaccine.

– We are regularly in touch with my fellow testers, who, like me, did not develop antibodies. They went to clinics, but they were refused protection from the coronavirus. We have a group on a social network in which dozens of such people have already registered. Many write that they have officially withdrawn from the study, but they are still denied vaccination, since no one removes the mark in the UMIAS that they are participants in clinical trials, ”he says.

– I wrote a statement that I want to quit the experiment after I double-checked the level of my antibodies: 40 days after the vaccine was administered, and then another 10 days later, – another participant in clinical trials, an employee of one of the research institutes, shared with us. – Tests have shown that there are almost no antibodies. Fearing that I might get infected, I wrote a statement to withdraw from the experiment, and then asked to be vaccinated. However, in my polyclinic at my place of residence, they told me that they could not do this even after my official exit from the experiment, referring to the fact that in UMIAS there is a “black mark” next to my name – “CI participant”. I know that people with the same problem as mine have already started writing angry letters to the Ministry of Health, preparing appeals to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Presidential Administration about the violation of citizens’ rights to receive medical care.

To understand the problem, we turned to Nikolai KRYUCHKOV, an immunologist, general director of a contract research company, an expert on medicines, and a candidate of medical sciences.

Immunologist Nikolay Kryuchkov

– To begin with, they cannot be 100 percent sure whether the participants in the experiment were given a vaccine or a placebo. This is a blind study, – says Nikolai Alexandrovich.

– They were checked, there were no antibodies.

– This is not absolute proof of the lack of specific immunity. First, it may be that these people originally belonged to a group in which immunity is not formed in principle. Second, it raises many questions as to how they measured antibodies. The fact is that if you came to the laboratory and said: “I want to be tested for antibodies to coronavirus,” without specifying which ones you are interested in, it is not at all a fact that you will be given the most informative analysis. Since the S antigen of the new coronavirus is present in two of our advanced vaccines, it is necessary to test for antibodies to the whole S or S1 antigen. There are also antibodies to the receptor binding domain (RBD). By a sufficient number of these types of antibodies, one can judge the presence of protective immunity, which could have formed both after vaccination and after a disease. It happens that in a laboratory a person is tested for completely different antibodies to coronavirus, which are not informative after vaccination. Third, a person may not have an antibody response, but T-cell immunity has developed. Unfortunately, it is not done in all laboratories, and if it is done somewhere, then such an analysis can cost from 10 thousand rubles.

– Suppose a person has passed all the necessary types of testing and found out that he has no immunity to the coronavirus. In this case, can you be sure that he was injected with a placebo instead of a vaccine?

– As I said, he may belong to a rather rare type of people in whom humoral immunity is not formed. In another case, he could actually be in the placebo group (such in the third phase of the experiment – a quarter of all participants).

– He is now denied the mass phase of vaccination of the population. It is legal?

– No. The rules for participation in any clinical research are determined by the Research Protocol and the Informed Consent, which the patient or volunteer signs, agreeing to participate in the experiment. There, among other restrictions, for example, recommendations to postpone pregnancy, etc., there should be a ban on any subsequent vaccination for a certain time. As far as I know, this restriction period is one year (in the American Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine protocol, for example, the observation period is two years). Clinical investigators are concerned about the “purity” of the experiment. After all, all of its participants are periodically called for an appointment, examined. By collecting data on those who were injected with placebo, they will understand what percentage of initially uninfected participants in the experiment will become infected with coronavirus without vaccination, which treatment will be more effective, etc. Naturally, examination and treatment will be covered by the sponsor of the study. In addition, in the event of severe adverse events, the participant in the experiment may be paid an insurance amount of up to 2 million rubles.

– Does such a participant have the right to withdraw from the contract?

– Of course, he can withdraw his informed consent. But then, of course, he will lose the right to follow-up examinations and insurance in the framework of a clinical trial.

– He will not be fined if consent is withdrawn?

– No, there is no fine in this case. But if ten people leave the experiment in this way, it’s okay. But ten percent is already worse. Once again, I would like to remind everyone: carefully read the Informed Consent before signing it, and ask all your questions to the research doctor.

– But the agreement does not just say that they will be deprived of the right to vaccination in case of withdrawal from clinical trials.

– Why the label “CI Participant” is not removed from UMIAS is not clear. Apparently, these are the costs of the bureaucratic system. I can also assume that this is being done due to a banal shortage of vaccines. If a volunteer leaves the study ahead of schedule, there are no formal obstacles to vaccination within a large-scale program. However, the person himself and his doctor must carefully weigh the benefits and risks of such a step.