The Effect of Flu Vaccine Varies With Age

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Published: 06th February 2017
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According to a new study, age-related differences may affect the body immune system to react to flu vaccine.These findings suggest that the influenza vaccine in aged people may have different ways of action, however, It's still too early to say the difference can make vaccine efficacy increase or decrease.

Vaccination is like training exercises of the body's defense forces in order to fight against foreign invasion.Infantry in this process are a group of cells called B cells with antibody molecules as their weapons.These molecules often are not identical in the terms of the formation.In a simulated fight, B cells constantly adjust their weapons, and make them more specific to a weakened or dead viruses in vaccines activity. With the ability to produce the most effective antibody, B cells can create a whole set of potential reaction which can be mobilized and can extend when needed.

Ning Jiang and his colleagues has made analysis on the immune repertoire in the blood samples taken from 17 human volunteers, who accepted the seasonal flu vaccine inoculation in the year of 2009 or 2010.These volunteers were divided into three age groups : children from 8 to 17, young adults from 18 to 30, and aged people from 70 to 100 years old .

Through the usage of high-throughput DNA sequencing technology, researchers can check the amount of antibody for volunteers right at the peak immune response to influenza vaccine.They noted that there's a remarkable difference in the composition of antibody response to vaccine in different age groups.After counting the antibodies, Jiang and his colleagues began to compare and merge antibody which are likely to have evolved from a common ancestor.They found that the number of unique antibodies in a immune system will reduce with the increase of age.In other words, in a aging immune system, fewer weapons can be utilized.

These results indicate that the action of influenza vaccine in elderly adults may be different during immunoreaction. However, the scientists cautioned that this study does not mean that the elderly should stop influenza vaccination, instead of that the elderly should reduce all activities that may increase their exposure to influenza virus, and should timely go to a doctor for diagnosis and treatment when noticed that there are early signs of influenza infection.

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