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Middle-aged individuals may be in a perpetual state of H3N2 influenza virus susceptibility.

Abstract

Influenza virus exposures in childhood can establish long-lived memory B cell responses that can be recalled later in life. Here, we complete a large serological survey to elucidate the specificity of antibodies against contemporary H3N2 viruses in differently aged individuals who were likely primed with different H3N2 strains in childhood. We find that most humans who were first infected in childhood with H3N2 viral strains from the 1960s and 1970s possess non-neutralizing antibodies against contemporary 3c2.A H3N2 viruses. We find that 3c2.A H3N2 virus infections boost non-neutralizing H3N2 antibodies in middle-aged individuals, potentially leaving many of them in a perpetual state of 3c2.A H3N2 viral susceptibility.

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