New evidence shows immunization against "swine flu" in 1976 might provide individuals with some protection against the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus, according to new research from St. Jude investigators.
Researchers found that individuals who reported receiving the 1976 vaccine mounted an enhanced immune response against both the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus and a different H1N1 flu strain that circulated during the 2008-09 flu season. The work appears in the April 23 online issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
"Our research shows that while immunity among those vaccinated in 1976 has waned somewhat, they mounted a much stronger immune response against the current pandemic H1N1 strain than others who did not receive the 1976 vaccine," said Jonathan A. McCullers, M.D., an associate member of the St. Jude Infectious Diseases Department and the study's lead author.
McCullers said it is unclear if the response was enough to protect against the 2009 H1N1 virus, but the study points to a lingering benefit. The findings also raise hope that those vaccinated against the 2009 H1N1 pandemic strain might also enjoy a similar long-term advantage.
The study is the first to focus on whether those vaccinated against the 1976 H1N1 strain made antibodies against the 2009 pandemic flu, including antibodies that could block the virus from infecting cells. This research follows an earlier study from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that reported blood taken from volunteers shortly after they were vaccinated in 1976 and stored for decades also showed a strong immune response to the 2009 pandemic virus. Investigators noted the results might not reflect the immune response those same volunteers would mount today.
The latest effort involved 116 St. Jude employees and spouses age 55 and older. The group included 46 vaccinated in 1976 against the H1N1 flu virus, known as A/New Jersey/76, which sickened more than 200 military recruits in New Jersey. That outbreak triggered fears of a flu pandemic and led to a massive government effort to quickly produce and distribute a vaccine.
The current study was conducted in August 2009 before a vaccine was available against the pandemic H1N1 flu strain and before the virus was circulating widely in the Memphis, Tenn., metropolitan area, where study volunteers lived.
Researchers reported that nearly 90 percent of volunteers made antibodies able to recognize a key protein on the surface of both the 2009 pandemic and the 2008-09 H1N1 flu strains. Those antibodies were present in numbers large enough to meet one federal gauge of vaccine effectiveness.
Nineteen percent of volunteers also produced antibodies that neutralized the 2009 pandemic strain and blocked it from infecting cells. In comparison, more than 67 percent of volunteers had antibodies that neutralized the 2008-09 seasonal H1N1 strain.
Those vaccinated in 1976 were more likely to make neutralizing antibodies against the new pandemic strain. More than 17 percent of the 1976-vaccine group made such antibodies in large quantities. Only about 4 percent of those who had not received the 1976 shot had comparable levels of antibody production. The difference between the two groups was statistically significant, meaning it was unlikely chance alone explained the result.
The work reflects ongoing efforts to understand why the current pandemic flu has taken a greater toll on children and young adults than on those ages 65 and older. In this study, researchers focused on older individuals to better gauge the impact of the 1976 "swine flu" shot or possible childhood exposure to flu viruses similar to the current pandemic strain. McCullers said those viruses last circulated in the 1930s and 1940s.
The unexpectedly robust immune response mounted by all the volunteers suggests that routine vaccination against seasonal flu might confer a broader-than- realized protection, McCullers said. The St. Jude volunteers included many health care workers who are vaccinated annually against flu.
Other St. Jude authors are Lee-Ann Van De Velde, Kim Allison, Kristen Branum, Richard Webby and Patricia Flynn, all of Infectious Diseases.
The work was supported in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and ALSAC.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering research and treatment of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Ranked the No. 1 pediatric cancer hospital by Parents magazine, St. Jude is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children, and has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world. St. Jude has developed research protocols that helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened to almost 80 percent today. St. Jude is the national coordinating center for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium and the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. In addition to pediatric cancer research, St. Jude is also a leader in sickle cell disease research and is a globally prominent research center for influenza.
Founded in 1962 by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world, publishing more research articles than any other pediatric cancer research center in the United States. St. Jude treats more than 5,400 patients each year and is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. St. Jude is financially supported by thousands of individual donors, organizations and corporations without which the hospital's work would not be possible. In 2010, St. Jude was ranked the most trusted charity in the nation in a public survey conducted by Harris Interactive, a highly respected international polling and research firm. For more information, go to www.stjude.org.
Summer Freeman | EurekAlert!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy