[FoRK] Death Panels

rst at ai.mit.edu rst at ai.mit.edu
Fri Nov 6 16:57:45 PST 2009


Benjamin Black writes:
 > Marty Halvorson wrote:
 > > If it's true that I may have an acquired immunity to H1N1, why don't I
 > > have a similar immunity to the seasonal flu?  Sorry, it just doesn't
 > > make any sense to me.
 > > 
 > 
 > Is that your opinion as a flu researcher?  Honestly, 'why does this
 > virus do different things than this other one?' seems obvious on the
 > face of it: they are different.  H1N1 combines material from several
 > strains of swine and avian flu (many of which don't infect humans at
 > all, go figure).  The surprise would be if H1N1 didn't behave differently!

And to answer the question directly, the current variety of H1N1 has a
lot in common with flu viruses that were in common circulation before
1950 (including the particularly nasty variant that caused a worldwide
pandemic in 1918), but similar varieties haven't been since, until the
current pandemic started last spring.  So people born before roughly
1950 generally have some exposure to related viruses; those after
generally don't.

rst


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