A recent study out of Switzerland examined the risks posed by Influenza A and B and RSV alongside Covid 19 variants which all have significant winter mortality rates to concern us in NZ this winter.

Inscience have just launched a 4 in one rapid nasal pen test to support workplaces in their risk evaluation this winter season.

This new product is a rapid test format and unique to have 4 relevant and predominant respiratory virus detectable and identified on one test.

Risks posed by Influenza A and B and RSV alongside Covid 19 variants

COVID-19 remains deadlier than influenza in severe cases requiring hospitalization, a new study shows.

People who were hospitalized with Omicron COVID-19 infections were 54% more likely to die, compared to people who were hospitalized with the flu, Swiss researchers found. The results of the study continue to debunk an earlier belief from the start of the pandemic that the flu was the more dangerous of the two respiratory viruses. Researchers noted that the deadliness of COVID-19 compared to flu persisted “despite virus evolution and improved management strategies.”.

Maybe because of this the New Zealand government remains committed to maintaining the requirement for those testing positive for Covid to remain isolated for 7 days after testing positive. This places pressure on business and leaves gaps in workplace ability to get through normal workflow. There are no such requirements for the flu however those that do test positive for Influenza A and B or RSV on the Rapid pentest 4 in 1 should isolate until negative and symptoms abate.

It is important for NZ employers to continue to require employees to test for Covid to determine the length of required sick leave. It will be important through the winter months to maintain this testing.

The study referenced was published this week in JAMA Network Open and included 5,212 patients in Switzerland hospitalized with COVID-19 or the flu. All the COVID patients were infected with the Omicron variant and hospitalized and Flu data included cases of Influenza A and B and RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus).

Overall, 7% of COVID-19 patients died, compared to 4.4% of flu patients.

“Our results demonstrate that COVID-19 still cannot simply be compared with influenza,” they wrote. While the death rate among COVID patients was significantly higher, there was no difference in the rate that COVID or flu patients were admitted to the intensive care unit, which was around 8%.”

JAMA Network Open: “Hospital Outcomes of Community-Acquired SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant Infection Compared With Influenza Infection in Switzerland.”