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Friday 12 May 2017
WAidid video pills: Professor Bernard Van der Zeijst on Aging and impaired immunity to influenza viruses

Seasonal influenza is a problem for the elderly: nearly 90% of people after 85 die of influenza. A partial solution is vaccinating them, but vaccines don't work as well in the elderly as they do in young adults. Studies on immunosenescence demonstated that several branches of the immune system in the elderly don't work as well as they should; what can we do in the short terms to fix the immune system and make it capable again to develop protection? Professor Van der Zeijst The Netherlands) presents three approches that demonstrated to work: increasing the amount of antigens in the vaccine; administering the vaccine in a different way (in the skin instead of in the muscle); adding an adjuvant that boost the vaccine (MF59 seems to be the most successful). This last option is the only licenced vaccine, yet it is not used very much. Solutions are available but more has still to be one.