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Resistance to H1N1

November 18th, 2009 (04:36 pm)
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This morning Ars Technica covered an interesting paper on why some people have partial resistance to this year's H1N1 variant, S-OIV, without having been exposed to it. Short answer: there's resistance because some of the epitopes (characteristic proteins) are also present in seasonal flu; it's only partial because those proteins are on the inside of the virus, so only the T-cells see them; the B-cells don't.

It also has an interesting historical tidbit:

It turns out that, prior to 1957, more seasonal flu variants shared epitopes with S-OIV. There was a flu pandemic in 1957 that seems to have pushed these strains off the scene, meaning that younger individuals are less likely to have a well-primed immune system, at least from the H1N1/S-OIV perspective.