The application of methods herein described for the absorption of antibody from sera by influenza virus adsorbed to erythrocytes has greatly facilitated absorption studies with this virus and has resulted in a more comprehensive demonstration of strain differences and relationships. It is now evident that there are at least 18 different antigenic components which can be measured in Type A strains of influenza virus. Utilization of quantitative absorption technics allows the simultaneous detection of variable quantities of several different antigens so that the antigenic composite of the strain is more clearly defined than was previously possible. The wide sharing of antigenic components leads to the conclusion that no completely new antigens have formed of late nor have the antigenic components of strains isolated several years ago disappeared. Some mechanisms for antigenic variation among strains are suggested, and the significance of the variation in antigenic components is discussed in relation to specifications for an effective vaccine.

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