Co-infection of influenza A virus enhances SARS-CoV-2 infectivity
Posted 14 Oct 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.14.335893
Posted 14 Oct 2020
The upcoming flu season in the northern hemisphere merging with the current COVID-19 pandemic may raise a potentially severe threat to public health. However, little is known about the consequences of the co-infection of influenza A virus (IAV) and SARS-CoV-2. Through experimental co-infection of IAV with either pseudotyped or SARS-CoV-2 live virus, we found that IAV pre-infection significantly promoted the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 in a broad range of cell types. Intriguingly, such enhancement of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity was only seen under co-infection with IAV but not with several other viruses including Sendai virus, human rhinovirus, human parainfluenza virus, human respiratory syncytial virus, or human enterovirus 71. IAV infection rather than interferon signaling induced elevated expression of ACE2 essential for such enhancement of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. Remarkably, we further confirmed that the pre-infection of IAV indeed resulted in an increased SARS-CoV-2 viral load and more severe lung damage in hACE2-transgenic mice. This study illustrates that the co-infection of IAV aggravates SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease severity, which in turn suggests that preventing the convergence of flu season and COVID-19 pandemic would be of great significance. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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