Influence of the H1N1 influenza pandemic on the humoral immune response to seasonal flu vaccines

In this study, we hypothesized that the humoral response to trivalent seasonal influenza virus vaccines was influenced by rapid antigenic switching of H1 HA. We tested archived sera and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) collected at prior to vaccination at day 0, as well as days 30 and 90 after vaccination during the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 influenza virus seasons. During the 2009/2010 season, vaccination successfully induced antibodies with hemagglutinin inhibition (HAI) activity against both H1N1 and H3N2 vaccine components. For the 2010/2011 season, the A/California/04/2009 (CA/09) H1N1 elicited seroconversion (HAI titer = 1:40) and novel memory B cell (Bmem) responses from most individuals. However, the H3N2 influenza virus component of the vaccine, A/Perth/16/2009 (Perth/09), back-boosted and elicited antibodies with HAI activity and Bmem response to historical H3N2 influenza virus strains. Following stratification of the pre-existing antibody with HAI against the CA/09 H1N1, there was a negative correlation with HAI seroconversion to other vaccine strains. Overall, strong immune responses against CA/09 H1N1 influenza virus negatively influenced the induction of novel humoral responses.