Flu pandemic survivors retain immunity

Survivors of the 1918 flu pandemic have retained lifetime immunity to the disease, research suggests.

US scientists discovered that antibody-producing B-cells isolated from survivors, are effective in protecting mice from the lethal H5N1 infection.

Bird flu triggered the epidemic 90 years ago, which killed 50 million people. Researchers now hope this study can provide insight into dealing with such an outbreak.

Lead researcher Dr Tshidi Tsibane, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where the study was carried out, said: ‘These findings could serve as potential therapy for another 1918-like virus.'

Contact Gemma McKenna at medical.temp@haymarket.com

Nature Online 2008

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