Home/ News / India/  How H3N2 differs from COVID-19?


Reports of the H3N2 influenza virus spreading in India, and there is concern about the potential for it to cause illness and spread further. 

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has stated that the cases of seasonal influenza are expected to decline by the end of March. This is likely due to the changing weather patterns and the end of the peak season for influenza transmission.

However, it's important to note that H3N2 is a type of seasonal flu virus that has been circulating for many years and is not a new sub-variant that has emerged after COVID-19.

 While the symptoms of H3N2 generally involve fever and cough, it can still lead to severe complications, especially in vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

Difference between COVID-19 and H3N2

COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while H3N2 is a strain of the influenza virus. COVID-19 is generally more contagious than H3N2, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe. Additionally, COVID-19 can cause a loss of taste or smell, which is not a symptom of H3N2.

Furthermore, COVID-19 can also lead to more severe complications such as pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and multi-organ failure. 

In comparison, H3N2 can also lead to severe complications, but it is typically less severe than COVID-19.

Can H3N2 bring next pandemic?

As per media reports, the potential for a virus to cause a pandemic depends on many factors, including its ability to spread easily from person to person, the severity of the illness it causes, and the availability of effective treatments and vaccines. While H3N2 is not as contagious as COVID-19, it can still spread rapidly and cause significant illness and death, as has been seen in past influenza pandemics.

While COVID-19 and H3N2 share some similarities, having had COVID-19 does not necessarily put someone at a higher risk of contracting H3N2, nor is there evidence to suggest that the occurrence of the two is linked.

Meanwhile, the health ministry has issued revised guidelines for the management of COVID-19 cases in response to the recent surge in cases across the country. 

The guidelines recommend that antibiotics should not be used unless there is a clinical suspicion of bacterial infection. It's important to note that COVID-19 is caused by a virus, not bacteria, and antibiotics are not effective against viral infections.

The guidelines also highlight the possibility of coinfection with other endemic infections and suggest that this should be considered in the management of COVID-19 cases. This is important because co-infections can complicate the management of COVID-19 and may require specific treatments.

Additionally, the guidelines state that systemic corticosteroids are not indicated in mild disease. Corticosteroids are a type of medication that can be used to reduce inflammation and are often used to treat severe cases of COVID-19. However, they can have side effects and should only be used in severe cases under medical supervision.

Overall, the revised guidelines emphasize the importance of appropriate and evidence-based management of COVID-19 cases and highlight the need to consider co-infections and avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics and corticosteroids.


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Updated: 21 Mar 2023, 10:36 AM IST
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