Natural immunity is life-long and bullet-proof, this study 'Neutralizing antibodies derived from the B cells of 1918 influenza pandemic survivors' published in NATURE (Yu et al.) showed 32 persons
by Paul Alexander
had seroreactivity with the 1918 virus; nearly 90 years after the pandemic. Seven of the eight donor samples tested had circulating B cells that secreted antibodies that bound the 1918 HA.
‘Here we show that of the 32 individuals tested that were born in or before 1915, each showed seroreactivity with the 1918 virus, nearly 90 years after the pandemic. Seven of the eight donor samples tested had circulating B cells that secreted antibodies that bound the 1918 HA. We isolated B cells from subjects and generated five monoclonal antibodies that showed potent neutralizing activity against 1918 virus from three separate donors. These antibodies also cross-reacted with the genetically similar HA of a 1930 swine H1N1 influenza strain, but did not cross-react with HAs of more contemporary human influenza viruses. The antibody genes had an unusually high degree of somatic mutation. The antibodies bound to the 1918 HA protein with high affinity, had exceptional virus-neutralizing potency and protected mice from lethal infection.’
‘Thus, these studies demonstrate that survivors of the 1918 influenza pandemic possess highly functional, virus-neutralizing antibodies to this uniquely virulent virus, and that humans can sustain circulating B memory cells to viruses for many decades after exposure—well into the tenth decade of life.’