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.

Viral Mutation May Explain High Flu Rates in Middle-Aged Adults Last Year
Viral Mutation May Explain High Flu Rates

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.

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