Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Manifestly Different

SARS-CoV-2- and Flu-derived pneumonias affect the lungs differently

01 August 2020

Manifestly Different

With the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us in the UK, attention is turning to how healthcare systems will cope with COVID-19 during flu season. Infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, or influenza viruses can both lead to pneumonia and lesions in the lungs. But are there any differences in the damage caused? Researchers now investigate by comparing lung CT scans (pictured) of patients with pneumonia who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (left) or influenza (right). Artificial intelligence-based software analysed the lesions (red) detected. Lesions in COVID-19 pneumonia were more often found in peripheral regions of the lung and close to the membranes lining the lungs, the pleura when compared to lesions in influenza pneumonia. Conversely, influenza pneumonia more often showed the airways filling with mucus and fluid accumulating between the pleura. These differences aren't significant enough to aid diagnosis but this approach can help identify lesions and evaluate treatment.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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