Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Power of First Impressions: Can Influenza Imprinting during Infancy Inform Vaccine Design?

Version 1 : Received: 13 August 2020 / Approved: 17 August 2020 / Online: 17 August 2020 (12:04:58 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Rioux, M.; McNeil, M.; Francis, M.E.; Dawe, N.; Foley, M.; Langley, J.M.; Kelvin, A.A. The Power of First Impressions: Can Influenza Imprinting during Infancy Inform Vaccine Design? Vaccines 2020, 8, 546. Rioux, M.; McNeil, M.; Francis, M.E.; Dawe, N.; Foley, M.; Langley, J.M.; Kelvin, A.A. The Power of First Impressions: Can Influenza Imprinting during Infancy Inform Vaccine Design? Vaccines 2020, 8, 546.

Journal reference: Vaccines 2020, 8, 546
DOI: 10.3390/vaccines8030546

Abstract

Influenza virus infection causes severe respiratory illness in people worldwide, disproportionately affecting infants. The immature respiratory tract coupled with the developing immune system is thought to synergistically play a role in the increased disease severity in younger age groups. Although vaccines remain the best solution for protecting this vulnerable population, no vaccines are available for those under 6 months, and for infants aged 6 months to 2 years, the vaccine elicits a dampened immune response. Dampened immune responses may be due to unique features of the infant immune system and a lack of pre-existing immunity. Unlike older children and adults, the infant immune system is Th2 skewed and has less antigen presenting cells and soluble immune factors. Paradoxically, we know that a person’s first infection with the influenza virus during infancy or childhood leads to the establishment of life-long immunity toward that particular virus strain. This is called influenza imprinting. To provide better protection against influenza virus infection and disease in infants, more research must be conducted to understand the imprinting event. We contend that by understanding influenza imprinting in the context of the infant immune system and the infant’s immature respiratory tract, we will be able to design more effective influenza vaccines for both infants and adults. Working through the lens of imprinting, using infant influenza animal models such as mice and ferrets, which have proven useful for infant immunity studies, we will gain a better understanding of imprinting and its implications regarding vaccine design. This review examines literature regarding infant immune development, current vaccine strategies, respiratory development, and the importance of researching the imprinting event in infant animal models to develop more effective and protective vaccines for young children.

Subject Areas

vaccine; age; pneumonia; influenza virus; seasonal influenza; influenza imprinting; infant; infant immunity; immune response

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