A novel pandemic influenza H1N1 (pH1N1) virus spread rapidly across the world in 2009. Due to the important role of antibody-mediated immunity in protection against influenza infection, we used an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based microneutralization test to investigate cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies against the 2009 pH1N1 virus in 229 stored sera from donors born between 1917 and 2008 in Taiwan. The peak of cumulative geometric mean titers occurred in donors more than 90 years old and declined sharply with decreasing age. Sixteen of 27 subjects (59%) more than 80 years old had cross-reactive antibody titers of 160 or more against the 2009 pH1N1 virus, whereas none of the donors from age 9 to 49 had an antibody titer of 160 or more. Interestingly, 2 of 51 children (4%) from 6 months to 9 years old had an antibody titer of 40. We further tested the antibody responses in 9 of the 51 pediatric sera to three endemic seasonal influenza viruses isolated in 2006 and 2008 in Taiwan, and the results showed that only the 2 sera from children with antibody responses to the 2009 pH1N1 virus had high titers of neutralizing antibody against recent seasonal influenza virus strains. Our study shows the presence of some level of cross-reactive antibody in Taiwanese persons 50 years old or older, and the elderly subjects who may already have been exposed to the 1918 virus had high titers of neutralizing antibody to the 2009 pH1N1 virus. Our data also indicate that natural infection with the Taiwan 2006 and 2008 seasonal H1N1 viruses may induce a cross-reactive antibody response to the 2009 pH1N1 virus.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Microbiology (medical)