TORONTO — A leading influenza scientist says preliminary research suggests people 60 and older may have some protection against the new swine flu.
The head of the influenza division at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says work being done in the Atlanta labs shows older people have some antibodies that may offer protection against the swine H1N1 virus.
CDC labs have been studying blood samples from people of varying ages to see if previous exposures to human H1N1 viruses or having had flu shots might give people some protection against this new flu.
While the swine virus is an H1N1 and there is a human virus of the same name that has been circulating for decades, scientists say the two viruses are very different.
Dr. Nancy Cox says her team is seeing higher levels of antibodies that are reactive with the virus in people starting at about age 50, but the rise is more noticeable in people 60 and older.
Cox says the pattern of disease spread seems to support the idea, because most of the cases are in young people.