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Robust and prototypical immune responses toward influenza vaccines in the high-risk group of Indigenous Australians


Hensen, L and Nguyen, THO and Rowntree, LC and Damelang, T and Koutsakos, M and Aban, M and Hurt, A and Harland, KL and Auladell, M and van de Sandt, CE and Everitt, A and Blacker, C and Oyong, DA and Loughland, JR and Webb, JR and Wines, BD and Hogarth, PM and Flanagan, KL and Plebanski, M and Wheatley, A and Chung, AW and Kent, SJ and Miller, A and Clemens, EB and Doherty, PC and Nelson, J and Davies, J and Tong, SYC and Kedzierska, K, Robust and prototypical immune responses toward influenza vaccines in the high-risk group of Indigenous Australians, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118, (41) pp. 1-11. ISSN 0027-8424 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2021. The Authors. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction, and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed.

DOI: doi:10.1073/pnas.2109388118


Morbidity and mortality rates from seasonal and pandemic influ-enza occur disproportionately in high-risk groups, including Indig-enous people globally. Although vaccination against influenza is recommended for those most at risk, studies on immune responses elicited by seasonal vaccines in Indigenous populations are largely missing, with no data available for Indigenous Australians and only one report published on antibody responses in Indigenous Canadians. We recruited 78 Indigenous and 84 non-Indigenous Australians vacci-nated with the quadrivalent influenza vaccine into the Looking into InFluenza T cell immunity -Vaccination cohort study and collected blood to define baseline, early (day 7), and memory (day 28) immune responses. We performed in-depth analyses of T and B cell activation, formation of memory B cells, and antibody profiles and investigated host factors that could contribute to vaccine responses. We found ac-tivation profiles of circulating T follicular helper type-1 cells at the early stage correlated strongly with the total change in antibody titers in-duced by vaccination. Formation of influenza-specific hemagglutinin-binding memory B cells was significantly higher in seroconverters com-pared with nonseroconverters. In-depth antibody characterization revealed a reduction in immunoglobulin G3 before and after vaccina-tion in the Indigenous Australian population, potentially linked to the increased frequency of the G3m21* allotype. Overall, our data provide evidence that Indigenous populations elicit robust, broad, and prototypical immune responses following immuniza-ti on with seasonal inactivated influenza vaccines. Our work strongly supports the recommendation of influenza vaccination to protect Indigenous populations from severe seasonal influ-enza virus infections and their subsequent complications.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:influenza, indigenous people, antibodies, B cells, follicular T helper cells
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences
Research Field:Clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Evaluation of health outcomes
UTAS Author:Flanagan, KL (Dr Katie Flanagan)
UTAS Author:Plebanski, M (Professor Magdalena Plebanski)
ID Code:152646
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2022-08-22
Last Modified:2022-09-30

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