Why the Flu Vaccine Is Less Effective In the Elderly

Scientist in LaboratoryDarren Baker | iStockphoto Extended
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Science Daily.

Around this time every year, the flu virus infects up to one-fifth of the U.S. population and kills thousands of people, many of them elderly.

[su_pullquote]”Our findings may help guide the development of next-generation vaccines that offer long-lasting immunity and better protection of at-risk populations.”[/su_pullquote]

A study published by Cell Press on Dec. 15, 2015 in Immunity now explains why the flu vaccine is less effective at protecting older individuals. More broadly, the findings reveal novel molecular signatures that could be used to predict which individuals are most likely to respond positively to vaccination.

“We provide novel evidence of a potential connection between the baseline state of the immune system in the elderly and reduced responsiveness to vaccination,” say co-senior study authors Shankar Subramaniam of the University of California, San Diego, and Bali Pulendran of Emory University.

“By providing a more complete picture of how the immune system responds to vaccination, our findings may help guide the development of next-generation vaccines that offer long-lasting immunity and better protection of at-risk populations.”

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