Old Swine Flu Vaccine May Still Protect

MEMPHIS, April 23 (UPI) — New evidence indicates the 1976 swine flu vaccine may help protect against 2009 H1N1, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at St. Jude in Memphis say they were surprised by the robust immune response from the old vaccine and suggest routine seasonal flu vaccination might offer greater-than-realized protection.

The study involved 116 St. Jude employees and spouses age 55 and older, including 46 vaccinated in 1976.

The study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, found 90 percent of those tested made antibodies that were able to recognize a key protein on the surface of both the 2009 pandemic and the 2008-09 H1N1 flu strains.

“Our research shows that while immunity among those vaccinated in 1976 has waned somewhat, they mounted a much stronger immune response against the current pandemic H1N1 strain than others who did not receive the 1976 vaccine,” lead author Dr. Jonathan McCullers said in a statement.

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