Johns Hopkins researchers study how being male or female affects flu shot response

Researchers at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University are investigating how biological sex affects patients' immune responses to the influenza vaccine.

The researchers received an $8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to expand on research that creates a framework for the significance of biological sex in flu vaccine immune responses.

The grant will develop a new specialized research center at Johns Hopkins over the next five years. The center will conduct three major studies and offer more research and education opportunities for graduate students and junior faculty.

Sabra Klein, PhD, an associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health who is leading the research effort, helped conduct studies that found females tend to develop significantly higher immune responses to the vaccine than males.

"Ultimately, our goal is to better understand whether standardized approaches of one-size-fits-all for flu vaccines really work, and whether our biological sex is a factor that needs to be considered," Dr. Klein said.

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