MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Marta C. Nunes, PhD
DST/NRF:Vaccine Preventable Diseases
Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit
University of Witwatersrand
Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital
Soweto, South Africa
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Young infants are at increased risk for influenza infection and hospitalizations associated with influenza infection. While active annual influenza vaccination is the most efficient mode for the prevention of influenza infection, current vaccines are poorly immunogenic and not licensed for use in infants
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: In this new study we show that the duration of protection in the infants is likely to be limited to the first 8 weeks of age. Several potential mechanisms of protection have been proposed such as, protection of the mother against influenza providing indirect protection of the infant by preventing transmission of influenza virus from the mother to the baby, maternal antibody-mediated protection through transplacental transfer or maternal antibody-mediated protection through breast-milk. Our study suggests that the most likely mechanism of protection of the infants is through transplacental transfer of maternal antibodies.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: That immunization of pregnant women with trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine is safe, immunogenic and efficacious in protecting the women and their infants against influenza illness even if this protection is shorter than previously estimated.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Estimating the period that infants can be protected through maternal vaccination has important implications, especially since currently there is no influenza vaccine licensed for use in infants younger than 6 months. To enhance the concentration of the antibodies transferred transplacentally and decrease the vulnerability to disease window period in young infants there is the need to explore more immunogenic vaccines in pregnant women. Alternatively, more immunogenic vaccines for infants that can generate a protective immune response beginning at 8 weeks of age need to be identified.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Pregnant women should consult their doctor about the different vaccine available during pregnancy and the benefits that these vaccine provide to them and their babies.
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