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First flu affects lifetime risk


Key points from article :

Research finds there are only two types of hemagglutinin protein on surface of influenza A virus.

Chances of falling ill from a new strain of flu are at least partly determined by the first strain they ever encountered.

75% protection rate against severe disease if patient exposed to a virus with the same protein motif when they were a child.

The first time a person’s immune system encounters a flu virus, it makes antibodies targeting hemagglutinin .

Could explain why some flu outbreaks cause more deaths and serious illnesses in younger people.

The study was published in the Science journal.

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Louise Foucar Marshall Science Research Professor and Department Head of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.


Peer-reviewed academic online journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)


Public Research university.


Public land-grant research university