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Immunity Debt: Is This the Reason for the Tripledemic?

sick young girl in hospital bed holding teddy bear

Post-Covid Immunity Debt

Over the last 3 years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, society has been limited in many ways in terms of interaction. Stay-at-home orders, remote work, masking protocols, and lack of social events have made the natural immunity we have as humans decline tremendously. These measures were put into place to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2, also preventing other viruses. However, less infection means less immunity. This proposes the concept of immunity debt, which is when a host's immune system has not been properly primed and is more susceptible to infection and disease. The combination of these factors with the reemergence of socialization has caused viruses to come in flooding America's households. 40 percent of America has been affected by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Flu A/B, and COVID-19, otherwise known as the tripledemic.

Pre-pandemic, young children were continuously exposed to others in schools, day-care centers and through normal child's play. During the pandemic, birth-rates did not decrease significantly, so these new children were not exposed to the same level of infections or typical pathogens. Similarly, pregnant women were unable to pass their immunity onto their infants through the placenta or breast milk in elevated levels because they did not possess as many antibodies themselves due to the lack of interaction. Essentially, these newborns inherited a very weak immune system to begin with and the continuous lack of exposure has only caused it to worsen. This is why so many children have been subject to illness as schools and other commonplaces are routinely open.

Transmission of the Tripledemic

RSV is known as the most common cause of lower respiratory tract infection in children five years old and younger. When combined with weak immune systems, it is no wonder why we have seen RSV in higher numbers than previous years. In a recent study done by the Boston University School of Public Health, there was an increase in cases by 60% compared to 2021 and hospitalizations have been at record levels since the last decade. RSV is mostly spread through contaminated surfaces whereas the flu is highly transmitted through respiratory droplets. During the height of COVID-19 when society was unsure of how the infection would spread, people were taking extreme measures such as disinfecting their groceries. Once we became aware that COVID-19 does not spread through surfaces, these practices slowly came to a halt which also contributes to the rise in RSV cases. The trifecta of infectious disease will continue in waves as each one has its own seasonality.

man blowing nose into tissue while lying in bed

Tripledemic Diagnostics

At CLIA Supply, we are leaders in diagnostics for infectious disease. The QuickVue RSV Test is CLIA-waived and allows for results in 15 minutes or less with its easy-to-use dipstick method. Only one reagent is needed, so it has fewer steps making it very user-friendly. All tools are included in this kit with 20 tests per box to make sure each step can be completed in-house. Sensitivity rates for the QuickVue RSV test are: 92% (Nasopharyngeal swab); 99% (Nasopharyngeal aspirate); 83% (Nasal/nasopharyngeal wash). Specificity rates for this test are: 92% (Nasopharyngeal swab); 92% (Nasopharyngeal aspirate); 90% (Nasal/nasopharyngeal wash).

We offer an array of diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2 and Flu A/B, but a customer favorite is the CLIA-waived Status COVID-19/Flu A&B Rapid Antigen Test which gives results within 15 minutes. This test is a lateral flow immunoassay intended for the in vitro rapid, simultaneous qualitative detection and differentiation of nucleocapsid antigen from SARS-CoV-2, influenza A and/or B directly from nasopharyngeal swab specimens obtained from individuals who are suspected of respiratory viral infection consistent with SARS-CoV-2 and Flu A&B. Included with the 25 tests, fact sheets are provided for patients and healthcare providers. Sensitivity rates are: 93.1% (COVID-19), 91.4% (Flu A), and 87.6% (Flu B). Specificity rates are: 100% (COVID-19), 95.7% (Flu A), and 95.9% (Flu B). With this highly innovative combination testing, there is no longer a need for two tests, saving time on workflows.

By Clinicians, for Clinicians

At CLIA Supply, we only work with vetted suppliers and vetted buyers. As a company owned and supported by healthcare professionals, we prefer to deal directly with manufacturers and suppliers that we feel good about using in our own practices. We understand the importance of compliance, quality, training and service to ensure clinical products meet clinical standards.

We want to help you provide the best patient outcomes possible with our highly innovative diagnostic technology. To get connected with a highly trained sales specialist, call us at 1-800-397-0670 or send us a message.