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Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology

groups hardest hit during outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as influenza, due to a decrease in immune system function with age. High mortality rates in humans over the age of sixty-five continue to challenge vaccinologists to explore new means of improving immune responses to the flu virus vaccine.

"During influenza epidemics, the rate of hospitalization in the elderly is high, with up to a 90% mortality rate," say the researchers.

LT-IS, an immunostimulating patch containing the enterotoxin Escherichia coli, is to be applied directly over the flu vaccine injection site. In the study young and old mice were administered the flu virus vaccine, after which some were treated with LT-IS for a period of eighteen hours. Both age groups showed an enhanced antibody response to the vaccine after wearing the patch, while the older mice that received the patch in addition to the vaccine showed responses equal to or greater than that of young mice receiving only the vaccine.

"These results suggest that addition of an LT-IS patch may compensate for the deficient immune function seen in the aged in response to influenza virus vaccination," say the researchers. "Therefore, use of an LT-IS patch could be a new, safe, and simple immunization strategy that may significantly improve the outcome of influenza virus vaccination in the elderly."

(M. Guebre-Xabier, S.A. Hammond, L.R. Ellingsworth, G.M. Glenn. 2004. Immunostimulant patch enhances immune responses to influenza virus vaccine in aged mice. Journal of Virology, 78. 14: 7610-7618.)


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Contact: Jim Sliwa
jsliwa@asmusa.org
202-942-9389
American Society for Microbiology
15-Jul-2004


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