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Apr 26, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – The long-derided "swine flu" vaccination campaign of 1976, infamous for its association with cases of paralyzing Guillain-Barre syndrome, may have had a benefit that went undetected for more than 30 years. According to work published Apr 23, it may have protected recipients against the 2009 pandemic strain of flu.
But because the 1976 strain was only related to, and not identical to, the novel 2009 virus, the results may lend support to a hypothesis that has been periodically advanced during pandemic-preparedness planning: the idea that in time of scarcity, even a related vaccine from a past season may be of some help until a perfectly matched vaccine arrives.