Influenza viruses may have become extinct as a result of COVID-19 infection control measures

Thanks to thorough measures against the new coronavirus infection, it has been reported that

influenza cases have dropped dramatically . According to researchers, two types of influenza viruses have not been reported for a year and may be extinct.

Flu virus has become less diverse, simplifying the task of making flu shots - STAT

2 types of flu viruses may have gone extinct | Live Science

Influenza viruses are divided into types A, B, and C, and of these, seasonal influenza, which causes severe symptoms, is caused by types A and B.

Influenza A viruses are further classified into subtypes based on the combination of the proteins hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). The most common subtypes in recent years are H1N1 and H3N2, which are further classified into clades.

On the other hand, influenza B viruses are divided into two types: B/Victoria and B/Yamagata.

According to the science news site STAT, one of the 'H3N2' clades, '3c3.A' and 'B/Yamagata,' has not been detected since March 2020. Experts have commented that while it cannot be said that the virus has become extinct just because it has not been detected or there have been no reported cases, there is a possibility that it may be extinct.

If influenza viruses become extinct and the diversity of the virus is lost, it would make producing influenza vaccines a little easier.

Vaccines are made by scientists every year by predicting 'which virus strain is most likely to be the next epidemic,' so the lower the diversity, the higher the chance that the vaccine will match the virus that actually circulates. 'H3N2' in particular is highly diverse, and it is believed that genetic diversity was increasing every year before the COVID-19 pandemic. For this reason, experts confide that 'diversity was a headache when selecting vaccine strains.'

in Science,   , Posted by logc_nt