Immunological memory to viral infection: Commentary

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Immunological memory is defined by the ability of a host to remember a past encounter with a specific pathogen and to respond to it in an effective manner upon re-exposure. How long immunological memory can be maintained in the absence of re-infection continues to be a subject of great controversy. Recent studies on immunity following smallpox vaccination demonstrate that T-cell memory declines steadily with a half-life of 8-15 years, whereas antiviral antibody responses are maintained for up to 75 years without appreciable decline. By combining recent advances in quantitative immunology with historical accounts of protection against smallpox dating back to the time of Edward Jenner, we are gaining a better understanding of the duration and magnitude of immunological memory and how it relates to protective immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-450
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent opinion in immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • CMV
  • HIV
  • IFN
  • LCMV
  • RSV
  • VN
  • acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • choriomeningitis virus
  • enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot
  • human immunodeficiency virus
  • interferon
  • lymphocytic CMV
  • respiratory syncytial virus
  • vaccinia necrosum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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