Viral Mutation May Explain High Flu Rates in Middle-Aged Adults Last Year
the MPR take:
A mutation in recent strains of the H1N1 influenza virus may explain why middle-aged adults were particularly impacted by the virus during the 2013-2014 influenza season. The results of this research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found a mutation in a region of hemagglutinin (HA) glycoprotein that allows viruses to avoid antibody responses in some middle-aged adults. Forty-two percent of individuals born from 1965–1979 possess antibodies that recognize the region of now-mutated HA, which suggests that previous influenza exposures from the 1970s and 1980s play a significant role in response among middle-aged adults to the current H1N1 vaccine. New viral strains that are antigenically matched in this region should be included in future influenza vaccines, the authors conclude.
A team of scientists, led by researchers at The Wistar Institute, has identified a possible explanation for why middle-aged adults were hit especially hard by the H1N1 influenza virus during the 2013-2014 influenza season. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offer evidence that a new mutation in H1N1 viruses potentially led to more disease in these individuals.
READ FULL ARTICLE From EurekAlert