The story appears on

Page A3

October 16, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

New immunity hope for H1N1

OLDER people who have been infected with or vaccinated against seasonal flu may have a type of immunity produced by cells that protects them from the swine flu virus, according to US researchers.

They said the pandemic H1N1 virus has parts found in earlier flu strains, and some people past age 60, who may have been exposed to similar viruses in their youth, may have some latent immune cells that protect them.

"These findings indicate that human populations may have some level of existing immunity to the pandemic H1N1 influenza and may explain why the 2009 H1N1-related symptoms have been generally mild," Carol Cardona of the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said on Wednesday.

Her study appears in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Cardona said cell-based immunity may be serving to weaken the effects of swine flu.

"The meaning clinically is you are going to get sick but it may not be as severe if you had no immunity whatsoever," she said.

Cardona said much attention is given to antibodies that recognize and destroy foreign invaders.

The body also makes cells, known as cytotoxic T-cells, which secrete antiviral chemicals that kill infected cells and clear the virus from the body. It is these cells that may be offering protection.

"It's part of the primary immune response. It just is not the one that is classically measured," Cardona said.

Cardona and colleague Zheng Xing analyzed data from prior studies of the H1N1 virus, looking at short stretches of proteins known as epitopes found in regions of the virus that are less likely to change from strain to strain.

"We simply went in and reanalyzed it," Cardona said.

They found more than a dozen of these epitopes on the H1N1 virus also are found in seasonal flu viruses that have been circulating for years.

US health authorities say most serious cases and deaths from swine flu have been in people under 65.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend