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Science. 2019 Nov 1;366(6465):599-606. doi: 10.1126/science.aay6485.

Measles virus infection diminishes preexisting antibodies that offer protection from other pathogens.

Author information

1
Division of Genetics, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA. selledge@genetics.med.harvard.edu mmina@hsph.harvard.edu.
2
Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
3
Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
4
Division of Genetics, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
5
Department of Viroscience, Postgraduate School of Molecular Medicine, Erasmus MC, University Medical Centre Rotterdam, 3015 CN, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
6
Children's Hospital, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, 00290 Helsinki, Finland.
7
Research Program for Clinical and Molecular Metabolism, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland.
8
Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, CO 80045, USA.
9
Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.
10
Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.
11
W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
12
Program in Virology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Abstract

Measles virus is directly responsible for more than 100,000 deaths yearly. Epidemiological studies have associated measles with increased morbidity and mortality for years after infection, but the reasons why are poorly understood. Measles virus infects immune cells, causing acute immune suppression. To identify and quantify long-term effects of measles on the immune system, we used VirScan, an assay that tracks antibodies to thousands of pathogen epitopes in blood. We studied 77 unvaccinated children before and 2 months after natural measles virus infection. Measles caused elimination of 11 to 73% of the antibody repertoire across individuals. Recovery of antibodies was detected after natural reexposure to pathogens. Notably, these immune system effects were not observed in infants vaccinated against MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), but were confirmed in measles-infected macaques. The reduction in humoral immune memory after measles infection generates potential vulnerability to future infections, underscoring the need for widespread vaccination.

PMID:
31672891
DOI:
10.1126/science.aay6485

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