Why your first battle with flu matters most.
The first strain of influenza virus we encounter during childhood sets the course of how our immune system responds to exposures later in life.
The findings of the scientists emphasize that childhood exposures can imprint a lifelong immunological bias toward particular influenza subtypes.
The consequence is that newer and less “senior” antibody responses acquired later in life do not provide the same strength of protection as responses imprinted in childhood.
Katelyn M. Gostic, Rebecca Bridge, Shane Brady, Cécile Viboud, Michael Worobey, James O. Lloyd-Smith. Childhood immune imprinting to influenza A shapes birth year-specific risk during seasonal H1N1 and H3N2 epidemics. PLOS Pathogens, 2019; 15 (12): e1008109.