Navigation Links
Survivors of 1918 Flu Pandemic Immune 90 Years Later
Date:8/17/2008

Finding could lead to new strategies for fighting future pandemics, researchers say

SUNDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- People who lived through the 1918 flu pandemic that killed 50 million worldwide are still producing antibodies to the virus 90 years later, researchers report.

"Most people have a notion that elderly people have very weak immunity or they have lost immunity," said lead researcher Dr. James E. Crowe Jr., a professor of pediatrics, microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt University.

"This study shows that extremely elderly people have retained memory of being infected with the 1918 flu, even 90 years later," Crowe said.

This is the first evidence that shows that people developed significant immunity to the 1918 flu virus, Crowe said. "It's important to know that you can develop immunity to such a pandemic virus. That has implications for new pandemic viruses," he said.

The report is published in the Aug. 17 issue of Nature.

For the study, Crowe's team studied antibodies in the blood of 32 people in their 90s and 100s, born during or before 1915. They found that all 32 people had antibodies to the 1918 strain of flu virus. In fact, several of these people were still producing the antibodies to the virus.

In experiments with mice, the researchers found that these antibodies continue to protect the mice from infection with the 1918 flu strain.

The study also shows that people have a "surprising ability" to maintain immunity to things they saw a long time ago, Crowe said.

Whether this long-term immunity is peculiar to the 1918 flu virus isn't known, Crowe said. He believes more work needs to be done understand the full extent of this immune response. "The elderly might be a very good donor source for finding antibodies against viruses," he said.

"This study shows that humans can develop very potent immune responses against dangerous influenza that cause pandemics," Crowe said. "It gives us hope that we can develop vaccines and antibody treatments for any other pandemic viruses that come along," he said.

Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine in New York City, thinks that people who developed this strong immune response may have been infected with a less deadly strain of flu before 1918.

"The implication of this study is the 1918 virus was so powerful that the immunity you had to have in order to survive was so prominent that it lasted for the rest of your life," Siegel said.

However, Siegel noted that some people may have had experience with a similar less deadly flu virus that prepared their immune system to handle the 1918 strain.

"So, those in certain age groups who had seen a related virus had the strongest responses," Siegel said. "Either they died, or they developed a profound immune response," he said.

Siegel expects if there is another flu pandemic, some people will develop a lifelong immunity as they did in 1918.

More information

For more on avian flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: James E. Crowe Jr., M.D., professor, pediatrics, microbiology and immunology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.; Marc Siegel, M.D., associate professor, medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York City, author, Bird Flu: Everything You Need to Know About the Next Pandemic; Aug. 17, 2008, Nature


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. One Year Later: Red Cross Helping Peru Earthquake Survivors Rebuild
2. One-Fifth of British Childhood Cancer Survivors Smoke
3. American Cancer Society study finds high use of complementary methods among cancer survivors
4. The Kenneth B. Schwartz Center, ASTRO partner to raise awareness of cancer survivorship
5. 1/5 of British adult survivors of childhood cancer smoke despite hazards
6. Video: A Toast to the Cure Set for October 30 Breast Cancer Survivors Raise Your Glasses
7. Angina Strikes 1 in 5 Heart Attack Survivors
8. ASTRO, The Wellness Community - Greater Boston Join to Promote Cancer Survivorship
9. Experts highlight gaps in knowledge on caring for survivors of teenage and young adult cancers
10. Poor sleep a problem in long-term breast cancer survivors
11. Nonprofit Organization Dedicated to Helping Young Adult Cancer Survivors Raises $4500 for Leanna Elizalde
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Survivors of 1918 Flu Pandemic Immune 90 Years Later
(Date:2/10/2016)... , ... February 10, 2016 ... ... Inc. , a full-service health care communications company offering education, research and ... resource for practitioners and specialists working in infectious diseases. , As the ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... As part of its ongoing series of ... Each webinar features a dynamic expert and thoughtful presentation to give attendees a ... facilities. Both events are free to attend, but registration is required. ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... tracking solution, The Guard, to associations of medical professionals throughout the country. The ... including security risk assessments, policies and procedures, employee training, regulatory updates, and compliance ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 10, 2016 , ... 10 Best Water is excited to announce ... brand owners that topped the list as a result of their commitment to offering ... brand was Tibet 5100, a top notch water company that specializes in providing the ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Ongoing news of the ravages of traumatic brain injury (TBI) ... survey that takes a closer look at cases of TBI being managed by their ... TBI among the aging population, and identifies the challenges associated with their care. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... A new report from business intelligence provider GBI Research ... Alzheimer,s disease market will more than double from just under $5 billion in ... Rate (CAGR) of 11%. Canada , France ... Spain , the UK, and Japan , and ... --> Canada , France , ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Feb. 10, 2016 Urologix, the market leader ... of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), announces new private ownership ... , a medical device industry veteran of more than ... Liability Company.  Plymouth, Minn. ... Cooled ThermoTherapy™ and Prostiva® RF Therapy, will continue to ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... February 10, 2016 A Worldwide Clinical ... be held at Victoria Park Plaza in London ... seminar on technology and future advances for late phase research ... Lorna Graham , associate director of project management at ... up with new regulations and standards in late phase research. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: