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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Some Elderly Immune to Swine Flu?
20 May 2009 6:31 pm
One of the most baffling features of the swine flu outbreak is that, unlike seasonal influenza, severe disease largely does not occur in the elderly. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to release a detailed report that says some older people have antibodies that react to the novel H1N1 virus behind the swine flu outbreak.
CDC’s influenza chief, Nancy Cox, discussed this in an interview posted on ScienceInsider last week, but CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report later today or tomorrow will have a detailed account of the findings.
One reason why the elderly may have antibodies is from exposure to an older cousin of the swine flu strain. At a press conference today, CDC epidemiologist Daniel Jernigan noted that between the pandemics of 1918 and 1957, an H1N1 circulated in the United States that appears to have left some people with an antibody response that in test-tube studies “cross-reacts” with the new H1N1 virus. “That is not something that tells you about protection,” cautioned Jernigan. “We can infer from that to some degree that there is some level of protection, but we don’t have a good answer to that right now.”