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H1N1 Update

Friday, October 29, 2010 // Uncategorized

5/25/2009 6:49:39 PM

Here is some new information that suggests that “older patients” may have some immunity against the H1N1 flu strain.

H1N1 Notes: Older People Show Immune Reactivity with Novel H1N1 Viral Antigens
Older adults show some immunologic familiarity with the novel H1N1 virus, according to an MMWR study. A CDC official calls the observation “interesting,” but says it does not necessarily mean that the elderly are protected against the virus.
Researchers used stored serum samples to investigate whether recent seasonal flu vaccines afford any protection against the novel H1N1 virus. They found those vaccines “unlikely to provide protection” against novel H1N1, according to MMWR’s editors.
Interestingly, among adults older than 60, fully one third showed immune responses to novel H1N1 — an effect not seen in younger people. That has led to speculation that elders may have been exposed earlier in life to a similar virus and may thus be protected now. Speaking at a press briefing, the CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat emphasized that novel H1N1 is “really different” genetically from earlier pandemic strains the elderly may have encountered.
MMWR article (Free)

It looks like a separate vaccine will be necessary to protect against this type.  It’s not clear when that will be available.

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