Humoral immunity to respiratory syncytial virus in young and elderly adults

Epidemiol Infect. 2009 Dec;137(12):1684-6. doi: 10.1017/S0950268809002593. Epub 2009 Apr 15.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has been demonstrated to cause substantial disease in elderly and immunocompromised subjects. The relationship of serum antibody to RSV infection and the risk of infection in elderly subjects is controversial, thus we evaluated the presence of neutralizing antibodies to RSV in healthy people of different age groups and the correlation with viral protection. Baseline blood samples from 197 subjects aged 20-80 years were analysed for the presence of anti-RSV antibodies either by indirect immunofluorescence and microneutralization test. The percentage of people who had neutralizing antibodies to RSV was significantly higher (P=0.001) in the youngest group (92.51%) compared to the frail group (36.21%). The RSV antibody level tends to wane in some older people; this factor could determine proneness to RSV re-infections in the elderly who are at a greater risk of developing severe respiratory disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / immunology*
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral