by Aliyah Baluch, Atul Humar, Adrian Egli, Jonathan Gubbay, Luiz Lisboa, Leticia Wilson, Deepali Kumar
In solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients it is unknown if natural infection with influenza confers protection from re-infection with the same strain during the next influenza season. The purpose of this study was to determine if infection with pandemic influenza A/H1N1 (pH1N1) resulted in a long-term immunologic response. Transplant recipients with microbiologically proven pH1N1 infection in 2009/2010 underwent humoral and cell-mediated immunity (CMI) testing for pH1N1 just prior to the next influenza season. Concurrent testing for A/Brisbane/59/2007 was done to rule-out cross-reacting antibody. We enrolled 22 adult transplant patients after pH1N1 infection. Follow up testing was done at a median of 7.4 months (range 5.8–15.4) after infection. After excluding those with cross-reactive antibody, 7/19 (36.8%) patients were seroprotected. Detectable pH1N1-specific CD4+ and CD8+ interferon-? producing T-cells were found in 11/22 (50%) and 8/22 (36.4%) patients respectively. Humoral immunity had a significant correlation with a CD4 response. This is the first study in transplant patients to evaluate long-term humoral and cellular response after natural influenza infection. We show that a substantial proportion of SOT recipients with previous pH1N1 infection lack long-term humoral and cellular immune responses to pH1N1. These patients most likely are at risk for re-infection.