In the shadow of the pandemic, medical experts are assessing the unusually light flu season and reminding the public that influenza remains a threat.
Chicago’s news station, WGN9 recently interviewed doctors at local hospitals, where flu admissions were lower than usual over the winter – also true in many places around the world. Dr. John Erwin of Chicago’s NorthShore University Health System said the hospital saw only one admission with serious complications from influenza, compared with thousands in previous flu seasons.
“We’ve been imploring people for years to social distance a bit during flu season, wash their hands, stay home when they are sick. And I think the first time in history people are actually staying home when they are feeling sick and I think that has had a lot to do with it,” said Dr. John Erwin of Chicago’s NorthShore University Health System in an interview with WGN9.
WGN9 also interviewed Dr. Gregg Sylvester, Head of Medical Affairs at Seqirus, a business of CSL that is a leading producer of influenza vaccine. He said the lessons learned from COVID-19, including the use of mRNA technology in vaccines, could one day be used to protect against influenza, too. WGN9 asked Slyvester if mRNA technology could make influenza vaccines more effective.
“We are taking those lessons learned and trying to incorporate them. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. (With COVID-19), there’s one virus they are looking for and four viruses we’re looking for, so we have to be careful,” Sylvester said. “But the future is brighter. It may not be next year. It may be further down the line.”
Watch the full WGN9 video: The future of the flu: Has Covid changed the virus forever?