Apples to apples, or apples to oranges? Social media has drawn numerous comparisons between the coronavirus and the flu, but the jarring difference between the two deadly illnesses lies with prevention. There is a vaccine for the flu. There isn’t (yet, at least) for coronavirus.
Good Morning Show viewer Sharon Alston e-mailed a question to VERIFY:
“I have Multiple Sclerosis… I have had the flu shot faithfully [for] years… Have you heard anything about the flu shot or any other medication that could provide some relief from the virus?”
Dr. Swords concluded no, there is no evidence the flu shot can help prevent coronavirus. Nonetheless, he said everyone should get a flu shot.
He explained there are reports of co-infection, meaning a patient is infected with both the flu and coronavirus. The flu shot can help prevent that type of co-infection.
A flu shot also can help arm doctors and nurses with key information. Swords explained when a patient exhibits respiratory symptoms, he or she is evaluated for other causes, including the flu. Knowing whether a patient has a flu shot can help.
There is another huge indirect benefit. The health blog Livescience cited a physician from Yale in saying the flu shot helps reduce the number of flu cases, which reduces the number of people coming into the hospital with the flu. That, of course, saves resources for coronavirus patients.
As far as other medicines providing relief from the virus, the Malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine and the Ebola drug Remdesivir have provided some relief for coronavirus patients, but those are not proven treatments for coronavirus.
Novant Health is starting a clinical trial of a potential treatment -- Leronlimab --soon.
A flu shot does not prevent coronavirus, though it has indirect benefits that can save time, resources and lives.
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