Year of birth affects the vulnerability to the flu

Some researchers believe that the phenomenon called antigenic imprinting plays a significant role in a person’s life. We are talking about the concept, according to which subtype of influenza, which the man had been ill in the first years of its life, affects the immune system’s response to the virus for the rest of their lives. Recent work by canadian scientists confirmed this hypothesis.

Recall that there are two the most common subtype of influenza A virus: H1N1 and H3N2. They cause coughing, pain and fever.

Usually, the pathogens follow each other on “post”: season one person is exposed to the first virus, another with the second. In the end, his body remain certain traces of the attack (determined by the same antigens, read more in our comprehensive material about the flu).

the flu Season 2018-2019 became anomalous, as both subtypes have made themselves felt in different periods of time. As a result, researchers from McMaster University got a rare opportunity to study the antigenic imprinting.

Experts have collected data about this unusual flu season and examined the relationship between age and vulnerability to H1N1 and H3N2. Knowing the age of the patients, the researchers were able to determine the subtype of influenza virus a person might encounter in the first years of life.

“Thanks to our previous research, we already knew that the susceptibility to specific subtypes of influenza may be associated with birth year,” explains lead author Alan Gagnon (Alain Gagnon) from the University of Montreal.

a New study shows that the hypothesis of antigenic imprinting has the full right to life.

Experts have found that the type of flu virus to which people were exposed in early childhood, affects his ability to fight the flu throughout life. They found rapid changes in the trends of infection with two subtypes of influenza A. the Researchers came to the conclusion that these changes are associated with the age of the patients.

“Instead of just to show how certain age-related patterns associated with a particular subtype in a single season of influenza, we have used a unique “natural experiment” to show how a change in the dominance of subtype [influenza] during a single season leads to a change in susceptibility based on age,” says Gagnon.

According to scientists, the obtained data can be useful to specialists in the field of health. They will help them to determine which demographic group is most at risk if circulating a particular subtype of pathogen.

Scientific article on the results of a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Text: To.Science