Kinetics of Serological Responses in Critically Ill Patients Hospitalized With 2009 Pandemic Influenza A(H1N1) Virus Infection in Canada, 2009–2011
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Background: The kinetics of the antibody response during severe influenza are not well documented. Methods: Critically ill patients infected with 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) virus (A[H1N1]pdm09), confirmed by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis or seroconversion (defined as a ≥4-fold rise in titers), during 2009-2011 in Canada were prospectively studied. Antibody titers in serially collected sera were determined using hemagglutinin inhibition (HAI) and microneutralization assays. Average antibody curves were estimated using linear mixed-effects models and compared by patient outcome, age, and corticosteroid treatment. Results: Of 47 patients with A(H1N1)pdm09 virus infection (median age, 47 years), 59% had baseline HAI titers of <40, and 68% had baseline neutralizing titers of <40. Antibody titers rose quickly after symptom onset, and, by day 14, 83% of patients had HAI titers of ≥40, and 80% had neutralizing titers ≥40. Baseline HAI titers were significantly higher in patients who died compared with patients who survived; however, the antibody kinetics were similar by patient outcome and corticosteroid treatment. Geometric mean titers over time in older patients were lower than those in younger patients. Conclusions: Critically ill patients with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus infection had strong HAI and neutralizing antibody responses during their illness. Antibody kinetics differed by age but were not associated with patient outcome.
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