TUESDAY, Feb. 11, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The first type of influenza virus you’re exposed to may set your lifetime ability to fight the flu.
Researchers with McMaster University and University of Montreal found that being born in an H1N1 year or an H3N2 year matters. Following a phenomenon known as antigenic imprinting, the study revealed that early exposure to one of these two flu strains permanently affects your immunity.
Knowing who is at a higher risk each year could help tailor pandemic and epidemic planning, the researchers say.
“People’s prior immunity to viruses like flu, or even coronavirus, can have a tremendous impact on their risk of becoming ill during subsequent epidemics and pandemics,” said study co-author Matthew Miller, an associate professor at McMaster Immunology Research Center.