Background: Serum antibody to the hemagglutinin (HA) of influenza viruses is a correlate and predictor of immunity to influenza in humans; the relative values of other correlates are uncertain.
Methods: Serum and nasal secretions (NS) were collected in fall and spring of 2009-2011 from healthy adults who were monitored for acute respiratory illness (ARI). Serum samples were tested for hemagglutination-inhibition (HAI) antibody increase and secretions for virus if ill; enrollment sera were also tested for neuraminidase-inhibiting (NI) antibody and NS for neutralizing (neut), NI, immunoglobulin A (IgA), and immunoglobulin G (IgG) anti-HA antibody.
Results: Serum anti-HA and anti-neuraminidase (NA) antibody titers to 2009(H1N1) pandemic influenza virus (pH1N1) correlated with titers in NS (including IgA and IgG antibody). Increasing anti-HA and anti-NA titers in serum and NS tests all correlated with reducing infection and infection-associated illness. Multivariate analyses indicated serum HAI and NI each independently predicted immunity to infection and infection-associated illness. Only serum NI independently predicted reduced illness among infected subjects.
Conclusions: Increasing anti-HA and NA antibody in serum and secretions correlated with reducing pH1N1 influenza virus infection and illness in healthy young adults. Both anti-HA and anti-NA antibody are independent predictors of immunity to influenza; ensuring induction of both by vaccination is desirable.