Researchers in the UK found that omicron variant infection may give some protection against flu.

Martin Michaelis at the University of Kent in the UK and his colleagues collected bronchial cells from a person with emphysema, a condition where the lungs’ air sacs are damaged, but the bronchi airways are unaffected.

The cells were extracted as part of a standard diagnostic or treatment procedure. Read more here.

Has COVID-19 become no more dangerous than the flu for most people?

That’s a question that scientists are debating as the country heads into a third pandemic winter. Early in the pandemic, COVID was estimated to be 10 times more lethal than the flu, fueling many people’s fears.

“We have all been questioning, ‘When does COVID look like influenza?”’ says Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. “And, I would say, ‘Yes, we are there.'”

Gandhi and other researchers argue that most people today have enough immunity — gained from vaccination, infection or both — to protect them against getting seriously ill from COVID. And this is especially so since the omicron variant doesn’t appear to make people as sick as earlier strains, Gandhi says. So unless a more virulent variant emerges, COVID’s menace has diminished considerably for most people, which means that they can go about their daily lives, says Gandhi, “in a way that you used to live with endemic seasonal flu.” Read more here.

Flu season has already started

The United States flu season typically peaks around February. But as of mid-September, influenza has already crept into some states. Moderate case numbers are spreading through Texas, New Mexico, and North Mariana Islands, and a few cases have been reported in almost every other state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1

The flu’s early appearance is causing some experts to worry about the virus’s 2022-2023 trajectory–and trends from countries like Australia are exacerbating concerns, too. Read more here.