Facts of Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses and their Impact

Facts of Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses and their Impact

What is Influenza (Flu)?

Influenza (flu) is a transmittable respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The flu is an infectious respiratory illness  that infects the nose, throat, and lungs; it can cause mild to severe illness. Grave results of flu infection may necessitate hospitalization or even cause death. The best method to avert flu is by ensuring your immune system is optimised and by getting an influenza vaccine every year.

A permanent cure for the common cold has been a perpetual wish for long-suffering patients. While influenza epidemics are responsible for economic losses due to missed work, school absences and several deaths, it is universally considered a high-priority medical need, upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs).

The current development of enhanced diagnostic and indicative techniques has dramatically expanded our knowledge of the mediators that root this omnipresent clinical syndrome. Molecular diagnostics may be the most receptive method of detecting respiratory viruses.

These approaches have been shown to identify multiple viruses in a single sample more often than any other approaches described. Additionally, molecular diagnostic laboratories can detect viruses that are difficult or impossible to grow. It has also widened our perception of the epidemiology and medical impact connected with respiratory viruses (RVs) other than the only influenza virus.

Biofire FilmArray Respiratory Panel (RP) is a conglomerated nucleic acid test used for the synchronous qualitative detection and identification of multiple respiratory viruses.

The Pathogen

There are about four types of seasonal influenza viruses, type A, B, C and D. Influenza A and B viruses travel, causing seasonal influenza epidemics of disease:

1.   Influenza A viruses are classified into subtypes according to the hemagglutinin (HA) combinations and the neuraminidase (NA), the proteins on the virus’s surface. Currently circulating in humans are subtypes A (H1N1) and A (H3N2) influenza viruses.

The A (H1N1) is also written as A (H1N1) because it caused a pandemic in 2009 and consequently replaced the recurring influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 virus that spread aforementioned to 2009. It is essential to know that only influenza type A viruses are identified to have caused pandemics.

2.   Influenza B viruses are not branched out into subtypes, but in their place, they are further secreted into two lineages: B/Yamagata and B/Victoria. Comparable to influenza, these can further classify influenza B viruses into specific clades and subclades.

Influenza B viruses generally change in terms of their genetic and antigenic properties rather than influenza A viruses, particularly influenza A(H3N2) viruses.

3.   Influenza C virus is identified less recurrently, and it usually causes mild and meek infections; therefore, it does not present public health importance.

4.   Influenza D viruses primarily affect cattle and are not recognized to communicate a disease or cause illness among humans.

Molecular techniques, most commonly exemplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and its variants (such as real-time PCR and reverse transcriptase [RT]-PCR), provide the opportunity for vastly improved sensitivity over the conventional method

How Does the Flu Spread?

Most experts consider that the flu virus spreads mainly by minuscule droplets formed when people with flu cough, sneeze or even talk. These microscopic droplets can land in the mouths or noses of individuals nearby. Moreover, a person may get the flu even when it touches a surface or object with the flu virus on it and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes.

Influenza Symptoms

Influenza (flu) can source from mild to high-risk illness, and in a critical situation, it can even lead to death. Flu is dissimilar from a cold; it typically is caught on suddenly. Individuals who have flu repeatedly feel some or all of the below-mentioned symptoms:

●  Runny or stuffy nose

●  Cough

●  Sore throat

●  muscle or body aches

●  Headaches

●  Fatigue or tiredness

●  Some may even have vomiting and diarrhoea -this is more common in children than adults.

●  Fever or feeling feverish -It is important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Impact of Respiratory Viruses According To WHO

➢   Respiratory diseases inflict an enormous worldwide health burden.

➢   An estimated 65 million individuals have temperate to severe chronic obstreperous pulmonary disease (COPD), out of which 3 million people die every year, making it the third leading cause of disease worldwide – and the numbers keep increasing year after year, especially with the current Covid-19 epidemic.

➢   Three hundred thirty-four million individuals worldwide have asthma; it is also the most common chronic childhood disease, affecting about 14% of children globally. The prevalence of asthma in children is also known to be rising.

➢   For decades, acute lower respiratory tract infections have been among the top three causes of death and disability among children and adults. Although the burden is difficult to quantify, it is estimated that lower respiratory tract infection causes nearly 4 million deaths annually and is a leading cause of death among children less than the age group of five years.

respiratory syncytial virus

➢   Moreover, acute lower respiratory tract infections in children predispose them to chronic respiratory diseases later in life.

➢   In 2015, 10.4 million people developed tuberculosis (TB), and 1.4 million people died.

➢   The most common lethal neoplasm globally is lung cancer, which kills 1.6 million people each year, and the numbers are growing.

➢   More than 100 million people suffer from sleep-disordered breathing.

➢   Millions live with pulmonary hypertension, more than 50 million people struggle with occupational lung diseases. Respiratory diseases account for more than 10% of all disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs).

➢   Respiratory diseases are second only to cardiovascular diseases (including stroke.

Biofire FilmArray Respiratory Panel facilitates rapid and accurate automatic exposure of pathogens behind respiratory infections. It tests for SARS-CoV-2 and bacterias that produce respiratory tract infections within minutes.


Respiratory viruses are the most frequent causes of human disease worldwide. Each year, this broad group of pathogens is responsible for many deaths and economic loss through days of sickness. Moreover, due to the nature of respiratory transmission, this category of viruses can promote a wide-ranging spread.

SARS-CoV, the virus that has spread to 27 countries within a matter of weeks, highlights the explosive outbreak potential of respiratory pathogens. The emergence of novel respiratory viruses carries with it the fear of pandemic disease spread. To date, there is a general lack of antiviral therapy or influenza vaccination against any of these viruses, further fueling concerns for far-reaching spread.

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