Development of Childhood Anti-influenza Immunity

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2021
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Rochester
Updated on 25 January 2021
acute illness
PCR test
influenza vaccination
trivalent influenza vaccine


More information is needed on how children fight off influenza virus, as they are at greater risk for developing severe influenza infection and tend to have weaker responses to influenza vaccination. The purpose of this study is to understand how a child's early exposure to influenza vaccine or infection with influenza virus prepares him or her to combat future infections with this virus. Investigators will learn about how protection develops following an influenza infection or vaccination and the impact this has on future vaccine responses. The information learned may allow us to develop better vaccines against influenza virus in the future.


Current guidelines recommend yearly influenza vaccination for all children 6 months of age; however the effect this has on the evolution of the anti-influenza immune response through childhood and into adulthood is poorly understood. Though far from idea, yearly vaccination is necessary at present due to the ongoing antigenic drift that occurs as viruses continually evolve to evade neutralizing antibody. There is currently much interest in the development of a universal influenza vaccination that would be able to provide protection against both seasonal and potentially pandemic strains of influenza. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that early childhood influenza exposures result in imprinting that profoundly shapes lifelong CD4 T cell and B cell mediated immunity to this virus. An improved understanding of immunity to influenza virus in early childhood is thus needed if a more broadly protective approach to influenza vaccination is to be successful.

There are profound antigenic differences between natural influenza infection, which stimulates vigorous inflammation with abundant intracellular antigen, and inactivated influenza vaccination, which contains predominately the surface glycoproteins (HA and NA) and promotes weak inflammatory signalling. This study will investigate how the context of these different routes of early childhood influenza exposure affect the functional potential of the anti-influenza immune response and determine the consequences this has on subsequent influenza vaccination. This improved knowledge of how early childhood influenza vaccination shapes the establishment of anti-influenza immunologic memory will enable both optimization of current influenza vaccination strategies and development of novel vaccines able to provide highly efficacious universal protection against both seasonal and potentially pandemic influenza strains.

Condition Influenza
Treatment Fluzone 0.25 mL dose, Fluzone 0.5 mL dose, natural influenza infection
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03778203
SponsorUniversity of Rochester
Last Modified on25 January 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Between 6 and 12 months at the time of enrollment to participate in the vaccination arm of age cohort 1A
Between 3 and 12 months at the time of enrollment to participate in the natural infection arm of age cohort 1B
> 12 months, birth date after 2009 for either the vaccination (A) or natural infection (B) arm of age cohort 2
Birth date between 2006 and 2009 for either the vaccination (A) or natural infection (B) arm of age cohort 3
Birth date between 2003 and 2006 for the vaccination (A) or natural infection (B) arm of age cohort 4
Gestational age of 37 weeks at birth
Parent/LAR can provide informed consent, with children 8 years of age providing informed assent
Available for the duration of the study
History of previous primary IIV vaccination (at least 2 previous doses for age <9 yrs, at least 1 previous dose for age 9 and older) ONLY for participation in the vaccination (A) arm of age cohorts 2, 3, or 4
Acute illness documented by rapid influenza test, PCR testing, or testing done by either URMC Labs or RGH Clinical Microbiology Labs to be due to influenza virus ONLY for participation in the natural infection arms (B) of age cohorts 1-4
Children enrolled in the Cohort A (vaccination cohort) are required to have an appropriate weight and vital signs as determined by a licensed medical provider. Children enrolled in the Cohort B (natural infection cohort) are required to have an appropriate weight and clinically stable vital signs as determined by a licensed medical provider
Children will not qualify for study participation if their weight is more than 2.5 standard deviations below population norms. This will be determined through calculation of a Z score using the PediTools website (<>) utilizing the appropriate CDC growth calculators for age

Exclusion Criteria

Immunosuppression as a result of an underlying illness or condition (including HIV or a primary immunodeficiency syndrome)
Active neoplastic disease
Use of potentially immunosuppressive medications currently or within the past year (including chemotherapeutic agents) or chronic (>2 weeks) use of oral or inhaled steroid therapy
A diagnosis of asthma requiring chronic controller medication
Participation in any clinical research study evaluating an investigational drug or therapy that is inconsistent with current standard of care within two (2) months of enrollment in this study
Previous administration of influenza vaccine in the current influenza season ONLY for subjects in the vaccination arm (A) of the study (subjects presenting with acute influenza infection with vaccine failure will be eligible to enroll in the B cohorts)
Receipt of immunoglobulin or another blood product within the year prior to study enrollment
An acute illness within the previous 3 days or temperature >38oC on screening EXCEPT for participation in the natural infection (B) cohorts
A contraindication to influenza vaccination EXCEPT infants between 3 and 5 months presenting with natural influenza infection whose only contraindication is their current age
Anemia in the previous 6 months (children on iron supplementation with no documentation of abnormal hemoglobin and/or hematocrit for >6 months will be allowed to participate in the study)
Recent (within 120 days) hospitalization, excluding hospitalization for delivery or subjects enrolled in the acute cohort who have been hospitalized for influenza-related reasons
Any medical history or other condition that the study PI feels may have a more than a minimal impact on the immune response or may impact the safety of the subject
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