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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Scientific Publications by FDA Staff

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J Infect Dis 2006 Jan 1;193(1):49-53

Prior H1N1 Influenza Infection and Susceptibility of Cleveland Family Study Participants during the H2N2 Pandemic of 1957: An Experiment of Nature.

Epstein SL

Epstein SL, US FDA, OCTGT, CBER, DCGT, 1401 Rockville Pike,HFM-730, Rockville, MD 20852 USA US FDA, Lab Immunol & Dev Biol, Div Cellular & Gene Therapies, Off Cellular Tissue & Gene Therapies,Ctr Biol Eva, Rockville, MD 20857 USA


During a pandemic, influenza vaccines that rely on neutralizing antibodies to protect against matched viruses might not be available early enough. Much broader (heterosubtypic) immune protection is seen in animals. Do humans also have cross-subtype immunity? To investigate this issue, archival records from the Cleveland Family Study, which was conducted before and during the 1957 pandemic (during which a shift from subtype H1N1 to H2N2 occurred), were analyzed. Only 5.6% of the adults who had had symptomatic influenza A in earlier study years developed influenza during the pandemic, despite living in households with participants who had influenza. In contrast, 55.2% of the children who had had symptomatic influenza A contracted it again. These findings suggest an impact of accumulated heterosubtypic immunity during a pandemic. Such immunity, as well as its implications for vaccination, should be further investigated.

Category: Journal Article, Peer
PubMed ID: #16323131
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2011-10-04 Entry Last Modified: 2012-08-29