It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
People's immunity to A/H1N1 flu virus is greater than previously thought, a new study suggests.
This may explain why the disease hasn't posed more problems, according to the study conducted by researchers at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology in La Jolla, California.
By using a major flu database funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the researchers analyzed the reaction of immune system cells to the H1N1 virus. They found that 17 percent of the B cells that attack viruses in the bloodstream recognized H1N1 because of exposure to other flu viruses.
"They (B cells) produce antibodies in the bloodstream and try to find the virus before it ends up in cells, so they are what prevents the disease," said study lead author Bjoern Peters, an assistant member of the division of vaccine discovery at the institute.
The study also found that 69 percent of T cells, which attack the virus in infected cells, were alerted by those previous infections.
"They recognize the virus inside cells, so they are responsible for clearing the infection once you have it," Peters said. "Nobody knows what level of immunity is sufficient for protection. But if infected, our data suggest that T cells in those who have previously been exposed to influenza may make the infection less severe."
"From our findings, we see that it is necessary to get a shot," he said. "Yet it provides an explanation why you do not have to be absolutely concerned if you have not been able to get a shot yet."