It’s well known that infants and elderly people are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases—but what happens in between those age extremes?
Turns out that “immune aging” may begin sooner than previously thought, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Most of the 32 diseases studied were least severe in 5–14 year-olds, but notably, severity increased by age 20 for most diseases including polio, tuberculosis, and HIV.
The findings impact the design of vaccine schedules and offer crucial insights into the resilience of infections—but they beg for further research.
- Vaccine developers are concerned about how a COVID-19 vaccine will fare in aging immune systems, Nature reports.
- Researchers have been busy testing drugs that tackle the biological culprits of aging to “rejuvenate” the aging immune system