A Virus Like Any Other

Maybe that’s not a good thing.

Run-of-the-mill influenza sometimes causes heart problems and can cause death. The conventional wisdom has been that the underlying cause of heart issues is severe inflammation of the lungs.

New research from labs at Ohio State indicates that this conventional wisdom is wrong. By genetically altering the flu virus, researchers were able to show that the flu cannot harm the heart unless it can directly infect it. Lung inflammation is insufficient of itself to cause major heart damage.

Instead, the Ohio State University study revealed, the electrical malfunctions and heart scarring seen in some of the sickest flu patients are caused by direct influenza infection of cardiac cells.

Science Daily(1)

This in turn raises a number of issues that had not been considered:

  • What areas of the heart are most vulnerable to flu?
  • How should we be testing for the presence of the flu virus in heart tissue? Short of an invasive biopsy, is there a way to tell?
  • Is flu damage to the heart cumulative? That is, do repeated flu infections over several years cause cumulative damage to heart tissue and function?
  • Does the virus stay in the heart? For how long? we know that the Covid-19 virus can remain long after symptoms subside and the patient tests negative. Is that true for influenza as well?

So when you hear a Covid skeptic say that the coronavirus is just like the flu, you might ask them if they understand what that means.

It may be the case that influenza should be taken far more seriously than most people (and many medical providers) do today.

Don’t you love surprises?

Sources:

  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/05/220511142354.htm

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