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Avian influenza A H7N9 virus remains a major threat to public health. However, no previous studies have determined the characteristics and dynamics of virus-specific T cell immune memory in patients who have recovered from H7N9 infection. Our findings showed that establishment of H7N9-specific T cell memory after H7N9 infection was prolonged in older and severely affected patients. Severely ill patients mounted lower T cell responses in the first 4 months after infection, while T cell responses tended to increase over time in older and severely ill patients. Higher levels of antigen-specific CD8 + T cells expressing the lung-homing marker CD49a were detected at 6 to 8 months after infection. Our results indicated a long-term impact of H7N9 infection on virus-specific memory T cells. These findings advance our understanding of the dynamics of virus-specific memory T cell immunity after H7N9 infection, which is relevant to the development of T cell-based universal influenza vaccines.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Virology


American Society for Microbiology

Publication Date