Seasonal influenza is a viral disease whose annual epidemics are estimated to cause three to five million cases of severe illness and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide. Vaccination is the main strategy for primary prevention.
To assess the status of influenza vaccination in the Americas, influenza vaccination data reported to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) through 2008 were analyzed.
Thirty-five countries and territories administered influenza vaccine in their public health sector, compared to 13 countries in 2004. Targeted risk groups varied. Sixteen countries reported coverage among older adults, ranging from 21% to 100%; coverage data were not available for most countries and targeted populations. Some tropical countries used the Northern Hemisphere vaccine formulation and others used the Southern Hemisphere vaccine formulation. In 2008, approximately 166.3 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine were purchased in the Americas; 30 of 35 countries procured their vaccine through PAHO's Revolving Fund.
Since 2004 there has been rapid uptake of seasonal influenza vaccine in the Americas. Challenges to fully implement influenza vaccination remain, including difficulties measuring coverage rates, variable vaccine uptake, and limited surveillance and effectiveness data to guide decisions regarding vaccine formulation and timing, especially in tropical countries.
Annual vaccination against seasonal influenza is recommended to decrease disease-related mortality and morbidity. However, one population that responds suboptimally to influenza vaccine is adults over the age of 65 years. The natural aging process is associated with a complex deterioration of multiple components of the host immune system. Research into this phenomenon, known as immunosenescence, has shown that aging alters both the innate and adaptive branches of the immune system. The intricate mechanisms involved in immune response to influenza vaccine, and how these responses are altered with age, have led us to adopt a more encompassing systems biology approach to understand exactly why the response to vaccination diminishes with age. Here, the authors review what changes occur with immunosenescence, and some immunogenetic factors that influence response, and outline the systems biology approach to understand the immune response to seasonal influenza vaccination in older adults.
bioinformatics; immunogenetics; immunosenescence; influenza; seasonal influenza vaccine; systems biology; vaccinomics; vaccine-induced immunity
Obesity is an independent risk factor for morbidity and mortality from pandemic influenza H1N1. Influenza is a significant public health threat, killing an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 worldwide each year. More than one in ten of the world’s adult population is obese and more than two-thirds of the US adult population is overweight or obese. No studies have compared humoral or cellular immune responses to influenza vaccination in healthy weight, overweight and obese populations despite clear public health importance.
The study employed a convenience sample to determine the antibody response to the 2009–2010 inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) in healthy weight, overweight and obese participants at one and 11 months post vaccination. In addition, activation of CD8+ T cells and expression of interferon-γ and granzyme B were measured in influenza-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cell cultures.
BMI correlated positively with higher initial fold increase in IgG antibodies detected by ELISA to TIV, confirmed by HAI antibody in a subset study. However, eleven months post vaccination, higher BMI was associated with a greater decline in influenza antibody titers. PBMC’s challenged ex vivo with vaccine strain virus demonstrated that obese individuals had decreased CD8+ T cell activation and decreased expression of functional proteins compared with healthy weight individuals.
These results suggest obesity may impair the ability to mount a protective immune response to influenza virus.
obesity; influenza; vaccination; IgG antibodies; CD8+ T cells
On a yearly basis there are 3–5 million severe cases and 250,000–500,000 deaths worldwide attributed to influenza. Four antiviral medications are currently available on the market; however, resistance has resulted in the armamentarium being shrunk to two remaining active treatment options for influenza. These two neuraminidase inhibitors, oseltamivir and zanamivir, are recommended for the treatment and prophylaxis of influenza A and B in children and adults. Zanamivir, which is the focus of this review, is an inhaled antiviral that has shown benefit in the community, household, and nursing home population for post-exposure prophylaxis. Zanamivir protection rates range from 67%–84% in clinical trials of adults and children. Although the influenza vaccine remains the best modality to combat the disease, zanamivir may also assist in decreasing morbidity associated with influenza A and B.
flu; prophylaxis; neuraminidase inhibitors; Relenza; community; household; nursing home
Seasonal and pandemic strains of influenza have widespread implications for the global economy and global health. This has been highlighted recently as the epidemiologic characteristics for hospitalization and mortality for pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 are now emerging. While treatment with neuraminidase inhibitors are effective for seasonal and pandemic influenza, prevention of morbidity and mortality through effective vaccines requires a rigorous process of research and development. Vulnerable populations such as older adults (i.e., > age 65 years) suffer the greatest impact from seasonal influenza yet do not have a consistent seroprotective response to seasonal influenza vaccines due to a combination of factors. This short narrative review will highlight the emerging epidemiologic characteristics of pandemic H1N1 2009 and focus on immunosenescence, innate immune system responses to influenza virus infection and vaccination, and influenza vaccine responsiveness as it relates to seasonal and H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccines.
H1N1; Toll-like receptor; innate immunity; aging; innate; immunity; TLR; adjuvant; immunosenescence; elderly; geriatric; influenza; vaccine
Influenza A is a negative sense single stranded RNA virus that belongs to the Orthomyxoviridae Family. This enveloped virus contains 8 segments of viral RNA which encodes 11 viral proteins. Influenza A infects humans and is the causative agent of the flu. Annually it infects approximately 5% to 15% of the population world wide and results in an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 deaths a year. The nature of influenza A replication results in a high mutation rate which results in the need for seasonal vaccinations. In addition the zoonotic nature of the influenza virus allows for recombination of viral segments from different strains creating new variants that have not been encountered before. This type of mutation is the method by which pandemic strains of the flu arises. Infection with influenza results in a respiratory illness that for most individuals is self limiting. However in susceptible populations which include individuals with pre-existing pulmonary or cardiac conditions, the very young and the elderly fatal complications may arise. The most serious of these is the development of viral pneumonia which may be accompanied by secondary bacterial infections. Progression of pneumonia leads to the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), acute lung injury (ALI) and potentially respiratory failure. This progression is a combined effect of the host immune system response to influenza infection and the viral infection itself. This review will focus on molecular aspects of viral replication in alveolar cells and their response to infection. The response of select innate immune cells and their contribution to viral clearance and lung epithelial damage will also be discussed. Molecular aspects of antiviral response in the cells in particular the protein kinase RNA dependent response, and the oligoadenylate synthetase RNAse L system in relation to influenza infection.
Influenza A; viral pneumonia; cellular signal transduction
Although vaccination significantly reduces influenza severity, seasonal human influenza epidemics still cause more than 250,000 deaths annually. Vaccine efficacy is limited in high-risk populations such as infants, the elderly and immunosuppressed individuals. In the event of an influenza pandemic (such as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic), a significant delay in vaccine availability represents a significant public health concern, particularly in high-risk groups. The increasing emergence of strains resistant to the two major anti-influenza drugs, adamantanes and neuraminidase inhibitors, and the continuous circulation of avian influenza viruses with pandemic potential in poultry, strongly calls for alternative prophylactic and treatment options. In this review, we focus on passive virus neutralization strategies for the prevention and control of influenza type A viruses.
human monoclonal antibody; immunoprophylaxis; immunotherapy; influenza A virus; neutralizing antibodies
Immunosenescence decreases influenza vaccine efficacy in older adults (age 65 and over). Strategies such as vaccine adjuvants are being developed to overcome immunosenescence. Our computer simulation model represented the decision to give an older adult either standard influenza vaccine or adjuvanted influenza vaccine and found the adjuvanted vaccine to be dominant in many scenarios, resulting in lowered cost and greater effectiveness. An adjuvanted vaccine that is 100% effective in overcoming immunosenescence remained dominant until its cost exceeded the standard vaccine cost by $65. In a single influenza season, the adjuvant would prevent 496,533 influenza cases, 171,981 hospitalizations, and 70,429 deaths.
Influenza Vaccine Adjuvant; Computer Simulation; Older Adults
Foremost amongst the diseases preventable by vaccination is influenza. Worldwide, influenza virus infection is associated with serious adverse events leading to hospitalization, debilitating complications, and death in elderly individuals. Immunization is considered to be the cornerstone for preventing these adverse health outcomes, and vaccination programs are timed to optimize protection during the annual influenza season. Trivalent inactivated influenza virus vaccines are believed to be both effective and cost-saving; however, in spite of widespread influenza vaccination programs, rates of hospitalization for acute respiratory illness and cardiovascular diseases have been increasing in this population during recent annual influenza seasons. From meta-analyses summarizing estimates of influenza vaccine effectiveness from available observational clinical studies, this review aims to examine how effective current influenza vaccine strategies are in the aging and older adult population and to analyze which are the most important biases that interfere with measurements of influenza vaccine effectiveness. Furthermore, consideration is given to strategies that should be adopted in order to optimize influenza vaccine effectiveness in the face of immune exhaustion.
influenza vaccine effectiveness; influenza virus infection; immunosenescence; hemagglutinin activity inhibition; innate immunity; hemagglutinin inhibition; older adults
Influenza claims 250,000 - 500,000 lives annually worldwide. Despite existing vaccines and enormous efforts in biomedical research, these staggering numbers have not changed significantly over the last two decades1, motivating the search for new, more effective, vaccines that can be rapidly designed and easily produced. Using influenza virus strain A/PR/8/34, we describe a systematic, rational approach, termed Synthetic Attenuated Virus Engineering (SAVE), to develop new, efficacious live attenuated influenza virus vaccine candidates through genome-scale changes in codon pair bias. Attenuation is based on many hundreds of nucleotide changes across the viral genome, offering high genetic stability and a wide margin of safety. The method can be applied rapidly to any emerging influenza virus in its entirety, an advantage that is significant for dealing with seasonal epidemics and pandemic threats, such as H5N1- or 2009-H1N1 influenza.
Seasonal epidemics of influenza virus result in ∼36,000 deaths annually in the United States. Current vaccines against influenza virus elicit an antibody response specific for the envelope glycoproteins. However, high mutation rates result in the emergence of new viral serotypes, which elude neutralization by preexisting antibodies. T lymphocytes have been reported to be capable of mediating heterosubtypic protection through recognition of internal, more conserved, influenza virus proteins. Here, we demonstrate using a recombinant influenza virus expressing the LCMV GP33-41 epitope that influenza virus-specific CD8+ T cells and virus-specific non-neutralizing antibodies each are relatively ineffective at conferring heterosubtypic protective immunity alone. However, when combined virus-specific CD8 T cells and non-neutralizing antibodies cooperatively elicit robust protective immunity. This synergistic improvement in protective immunity is dependent, at least in part, on alveolar macrophages and/or other lung phagocytes. Overall, our studies suggest that an influenza vaccine capable of eliciting both CD8+ T cells and antibodies specific for highly conserved influenza proteins may be able to provide heterosubtypic protection in humans, and act as the basis for a potential “universal” vaccine.
Influenza virus continues to pose a significant risk to global health and is responsible for thousands of deaths each year in the United States. This threat is largely due to the ability of the influenza virus to undergo rapid changes, allowing it to escape from immune responses elicited by previous infections or vaccinations. Certain internal determinants of the influenza virus are largely conserved across different viral strains and represent attractive targets for potential “universal” influenza vaccines. Here, we demonstrated that cross-subtype protection against the influenza virus could be obtained through simultaneous priming of multiple arms of the immune response against conserved elements of the influenza virus. These results suggest a novel strategy that could potentially form a primary component of a universal influenza vaccine capable of providing long-lasting protection.
Influenza A virus causes annual epidemics and occasional pandemics of short-term respiratory infections associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. The pandemics occur when new human-transmissible viruses that have the major surface protein of influenza A viruses from other host species are introduced into the human population. Between such rare events, the evolution of influenza is shaped by antigenic drift: the accumulation of mutations that result in changes in exposed regions of the viral surface proteins. Antigenic drift makes the virus less susceptible to immediate neutralization by the immune system in individuals who have had a previous influenza infection or vaccination. A biannual reevaluation of the vaccine composition is essential to maintain its effectiveness due to this immune escape. The study of influenza genomes is key to this endeavor, increasing our understanding of antigenic drift and enhancing the accuracy of vaccine strain selection. Recent large-scale genome sequencing and antigenic typing has considerably improved our understanding of influenza evolution: epidemics around the globe are seeded from a reservoir in East-Southeast Asia with year-round prevalence of influenza viruses; antigenically similar strains predominate in epidemics worldwide for several years before being replaced by a new antigenic cluster of strains. Future in-depth studies of the influenza reservoir, along with large-scale data mining of genomic resources and the integration of epidemiological, genomic, and antigenic data, should enhance our understanding of antigenic drift and improve the detection and control of antigenically novel emerging strains.
There is need for improved human influenza vaccines, particularly for older adults who are at greatest risk for severe disease, as well as to address the continuous antigenic drift within circulating human subtypes of influenza virus. We have engineered an influenza virus-like particle (VLP) as a new generation vaccine candidate purified from the supernatants of Sf9 insect cells following infection by recombinant baculoviruses to express three influenza virus proteins, hemagglutinin (HA), neuraminidase (NA), and matrix 1 (M1). In this study, a seasonal trivalent VLP vaccine (TVV) formulation, composed of influenza A H1N1 and H3N2 and influenza B VLPs, was evaluated in mice and ferrets for the ability to elicit antigen-specific immune responses. Animals vaccinated with the TVV formulation had hemagglutination-inhibition (HAI) antibody titers against all three homologous influenza virus strains, as well as HAI antibodies against a panel of heterologous influenza viruses. HAI titers elicited by the TVV were statistically similar to HAI titers elicited in animals vaccinated with the corresponding monovalent VLP. Mice vaccinated with the TVV had higher level of influenza specific CD8+ T cell responses than a commercial trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV). Ferrets vaccinated with the highest dose of the VLP vaccine and then challenged with the homologous H3N2 virus had the lowest titers of replicating virus in nasal washes and showed no signs of disease. Overall, a trivalent VLP vaccine elicits a broad array of immunity and can protect against influenza virus challenge.
Aging is associated with a dysregulation of the immune system known as immunosenescence. Immunosenescence involves cellular and molecular alterations that impact both innate and adaptive immunity, leading to increased incidences of infectious disease morbidity and mortality as well as heightened rates of other immune disorders such as autoimmunity, cancer, and inflammatory conditions. While current data suggests physical activity may be an effective and logistically easy strategy for counteracting immunosenescence, it is currently underutilized in clinical settings. Long-term, moderate physical activity interventions in geriatric populations appear to be associated with several benefits including reduction in infectious disease risk, increased rates of vaccine efficacy, and improvements in both physical and psychosocial aspects of daily living. Exercise may also represent a viable therapy in patients for whom pharmacological treatment is unavailable, ineffective, or inappropriate. The effects of exercise impact multiple aspects of immune response including T cell phenotype and proliferation, antibody response to vaccination, and cytokine production. However, an underlying mechanism by which exercise affects numerous cell types and responses remains to be identified. Given this evidence, an increase in the use of physical activity programs by the healthcare community may result in improved health of geriatric populations.
Currently, over 340,000 individuals are receiving long-term hemodialysis (HD) therapy for end-stage renal disease and therefore are particularly vulnerable to influenza, prone to more severe influenza outcomes, and less likely to achieve seroprotection from standard influenza vaccines. Influenza vaccine adjuvants, chemical or biological compounds added to a vaccine to boost the elicited immunological response, may help overcome this problem.
Economic stochastic decision analytic simulation model.
Setting & Participants
United States adult HD population.
Model, Perspective, & Timeframe
The model simulated the decision to use either an adjuvanted or non-adjuvanted vaccine, assumed the societal perspective, and represented a single influenza season, or 1 year.
Adjuvanted influenza vaccine at different adjuvant costs and efficacies. Sensitivity analyses explored the impact of varying the influenza clinical attack rate, influenza hospitalization rate, and influenza-related mortality.
Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of adjuvanted influenza vaccine (versus non-adjuvanted) with effectiveness measured in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs).
Adjuvanted influenza vaccine would be cost-effective (ICER<$50,000/QALY) at a $1 adjuvant cost (on top of the standard vaccine cost) when the adjuvant efficacy (in overcoming the difference between influenza vaccine response in HD patients and healthy adults) ≥60% and economically dominant (provides both cost savings and health benefits) when the $1 adjuvant's efficacy is 100%. A $2 adjuvant would be cost-effective should the adjuvant efficacy be 100%.
All models are simplifications of real life and cannot possibly capture all possible factors and outcomes.
An adjuvanted influenza vaccine with adjuvant cost ≤$2 could be cost-effective strategy in a standard influenza season depending on the potency of the adjuvant.
Influenza Vaccine; Hemodialysis; Vaccine Adjuvant; Seasonal Influenza; Computer Simulation; Computer model; Cost-effectiveness; Immunodeficiency; End-Stage Renal Disease
Seasonal influenza causes clinical illness and hospitalization in all age groups; however, conventional inactivated vaccines have only limited efficacy in young children. MF59®, an oil-in-water emulsion adjuvant, has been used since the 1990s to enhance the immunogenicity of influenza vaccines in the elderly, a population with waning immune function due to immunosenescence.
Clinical trials now provide information to support a favorable immunogenicity and safety profile of MF59-adjuvanted influenza vaccine in young children. Published data indicate that Fluad®, a trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine with MF59, was immunogenic and well tolerated in young children, with a benefit/risk ratio that supports routine clinical use. A recent clinical trial also shows that Fluad provides high efficacy against PCR-confirmed influenza. Based on the results of clinical studies in children, the use of MF59-adjuvanted vaccine offers the potential to enhance efficacy and make vaccination a viable prevention and control strategy in this population.
children; influenza vaccine; immunogenicity; MF59 adjuvant
The desired effect of vaccination is to elicit protective immune responses against infection with pathogenic agents. An inactivated influenza vaccine is able to induce the neutralizing antibodies directed primarily against two surface antigens, hemagglutinin and neuraminidase. These two antigens undergo frequent antigenic drift and hence necessitate the annual update of a new vaccine strain. Besides the antigenic drift, the unpredictable emergence of the pandemic influenza strain, as seen in the 2009 pandemic H1N1, underscores the development of a new influenza vaccine that elicits broadly protective immunity against the diverse influenza strains. Cold-adapted live attenuated influenza vaccines (CAIVs) are advocated as a more appropriate strategy for cross-protection than inactivated vaccines and extensive studies have been conducted to address the issues in animal models. Here, we briefly describe experimental and clinical evidence for cross-protection by the CAIVs against antigenically distant strains and discuss possible explanations for cross-protective immune responses afforded by CAIVs. Potential barriers to the achievement of a universal influenza vaccine are also discussed, which will provide useful guidelines for future research on designing an ideal influenza vaccine with broad protection without causing pathogenic effects such as autoimmunity or attrition of protective immunity against homologous infection.
Influenza live attenuated vaccine; cross-protection; cold-adaptation; universal vaccine
The increased susceptibility of the elderly to infection presents a major challenge to public health services. An aging immune system is well documented as the cause of increased infection rates in elderly people. Such immunosenescence is multi-factorial and incompletely understood. Immunosenescent changes include malfunctioning of innate immune system cellular receptors; involution of the thymus, with consequent reduction of the naïve T cell population; alteration of the T cell population composition; modified phenotypes of individual T cells; and replicative senescence of memory cells expressing naïve markers. Unfortunately, immunosenescence also renders vaccination less effective in the elderly. It is therefore important that the vaccines used against common but preventable diseases, such as influenza, are specifically enhanced to overcome the reduced immune responsiveness of this vulnerable population.
Obesity is an independent risk factor for morbidity and mortality from pandemic influenza H1N1. Influenza is a significant public health threat, killing an estimated 250 000–500 000 people worldwide each year. More than one in ten of the world's adult population is obese and more than two-thirds of the US adult population is overweight or obese. No studies have compared humoral or cellular immune responses to influenza vaccination in healthy weight, overweight and obese populations despite clear public health importance.
The study employed a convenience sample to determine the antibody response to the 2009–2010 inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) in healthy weight, overweight and obese participants at 1 and 12 months post vaccination. In addition, activation of CD8+ T cells and expression of interferon-γ and granzyme B were measured in influenza-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) cultures.
Body mass index (BMI) correlated positively with higher initial fold increase in IgG antibodies detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to TIV, confirmed by HAI antibody in a subset study. However, 12 months post vaccination, higher BMI was associated with a greater decline in influenza antibody titers. PBMCs challenged ex vivo with vaccine strain virus, demonstrated that obese individuals had decreased CD8+ T-cell activation and decreased expression of functional proteins compared with healthy weight individuals.
These results suggest obesity may impair the ability to mount a protective immune response to influenza virus.
influenza; vaccination; IgG antibodies; CD8+ T cells
Although seasonal influenza vaccines play a valuable role in reducing the spread of the virus at the population level, ongoing viral evolution to evade immune responses remains problematic. No current vaccines are likely to elicit enduring protection in the face of emerging and re-emerging influenza viruses that rapidly undergoing antigenic drift. Eliciting broadly cross-neutralizing antibody responses against influenza virus is a crucial goal for seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccine preparation. Recent three-dimensional structure information obtained from crystallization of influenza antigens in complex with neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) have provided a framework for interpreting antibody-based viral neutralization that should aid in the design of vaccine immunogens. Here, we will review current knowledge of the structure-based mechanisms contributing to the neutralization and neutralization escape of influenza viruses. We will also explore the potential for this structure-based approach to overcome the challenge of obtaining the highly desired “universal” influenza vaccine.
Inactivated influenza virus vaccines are the primary modality used for prevention of influenza. A system of annual identification of new strains causing illnesses, selections for vaccines, chick embryo growth, inactivation, processing, packaging, distribution and usage has been in place for decades. Current vaccines contain 15 µg of the HA of an A/H1N1, A/H3N2 and B strain and are given parenterally to induce serum anti-HA antibody for prevention of subsequent infection and illness from natural influenza. Reactogenicity is low and protection among healthy older children and adults is good; protection levels are generally lower in young children and the elderly. Needs include ensuring antigenic matches of vaccine and epidemic viruses each season, enhancing immunization rates, and providing new and improved vaccines and immunization approaches for the varied populations and circumstances globally.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) causes significant disease in the elderly, in part, because immunosenescence impairs protective immune responses to infection in this population. Despite previous and current efforts, there is no RSV vaccine currently licensed in infants or elderly adults. Adjuvanted RSV subunit vaccines have the potential to boost waning immune responses and reduce the burden of RSV disease in the elderly population.
We used an aged BALB/c mouse model to evaluate immune responses to RSV Fusion (F) protein in the absence and presence of an alum adjuvant. We demonstrate that aged BALB/c mice immunized with alum-adjuvanted RSV F protein had significantly reduced lung viral titers at day 4 following challenge with wild-type (wt) RSV. Serum neutralizing antibody titers measured on day 27 correlated with protection in both young and aged vaccinated mice, although the magnitude of antibody titers was lower in aged mice. Unlike young mice, in aged mice, alum-adjuvanted RSV F did not induce lung TH2-type cytokines or eosinophil infiltration compared to non-adjuvanted F protein following wt RSV challenge.
Our studies demonstrate that neutralizing anti-RSV antibody titers correlate with protection in both young and aged BALB/c mice vaccinated with RSV F protein vaccines. The F + alum formulation mediated greater protection compared to the non-adjuvanted F protein in both young and aged mice. However, while alum can boost F-specific antibody responses in aged mice, it does not completely overcome the reduced ability of a senescent immune system to respond to the RSV F antigen. Thus, our data suggest that a stronger adjuvant may be required for the prevention of RSV disease in immunosenescent populations, to achieve the appropriate balance of protective neutralizing antibodies and effective TH1-type cytokine response along with minimal lung immunopathology.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus; Immunosenescence; Alum; Adjuvant; Aged mice
The most profound consequences of immune senescence with respect to public health are the increased susceptibility to influenza and loss of efficacy of the current split-virus influenza vaccines in older adults, which are otherwise very effective in younger populations. Influenza infection is associated with high rates of complicated illness including pneumonia, heart attacks and strokes in the 65+ population. Changes in both innate and adaptive immune function not only converge in the reduced response to vaccination and protection against influenza, but present significant challenges to new vaccine development. In older adults, the goal of vaccination is more realistically targeted to providing clinical protection against disease rather sterilizing immunity. Correlates of clinical protection may not be measured using standard techniques such as antibody titres to predict vaccine efficacy. Further, antibody responses to vaccination as a correlate of protection may fail to detect important changes in cellular immunity and enhanced vaccine-mediated protection against influenza illness in older people. This article will discuss the impact of influenza in older adults, immunologic targets for improved efficacy of the vaccines, and alternative correlates of clinical protection against influenza that are needed for more effective translation of novel vaccination strategies to improved protection against influenza in older adults.
influenza vaccine; older adults; T cells; cytokines; granzyme B
The effectiveness of influenza vaccination in preventing serious illness and death was determined in an elderly population during the influenza epidemic of was determined in an elderly population during the influenza epidemic of was determined in an elderly population during the influenza epidemic of 1989-90. A retrospective cohort study was carried out using computerized general practitioner records on nearly 10,000 patients aged 55 years and over. After adjustment for potential confounding factors, recent immunization was found to have a protective effect of 75% (95% confidence intervals: 21-92%) against death. Protection did not appear to vary with either age or the presence of underlying chronic disease. As the complications of influenza are most common in those with underlying chronic disease, the study findings are consistent with the recommended policy for the use of influenza vaccine in the UK. Further work is necessary to determine the cost-effectiveness of extending immunization to other groups.
Influenza is foremost among all infectious diseases for an age-related increase in risk for serious complications and death. Determining the benefit of current influenza vaccines is largely limited to epidemiologic studies, since placebo-controlled trials of influenza vaccines are no longer considered ethical in the older adult population. Vaccine effectiveness is calculated from the relative reduction in influenza outcomes in individuals who elect to be vaccinated compared with those who do not, the assumptions for which are diverse and have led to considerable controversy as to the exact benefit of influenza vaccination in older adults. In spite of this controversy, there is no doubt that new influenza vaccine technologies are needed to improve protection and reverse the trend of rising hospitalization and death rates related to influenza in older adults despite widespread influenza vaccination programs. This article will review the challenges to new vaccine development, explore the potential correlates of protection against influenza, and describe how new vaccine technologies may improve protection against complicated influenza illness in the older adult population.
benefits of vaccination; granzymeB; immunosenescence; impact of influenza; older adults; T-cell responses