Times of India
23 June 2010
Jab Will Protect Against Number Of Complaints, Including Asthma And Hay Fever
Scientists have developed a "one –size–fits–all" jab to cure allergies, including hay fever and asthma, which they claim would be available in market in just four years.
The team behind the injection claims it would be the "holy grail" of vaccines as a single dose would protect against a number of allergies and ward off reactions to cat fur, dust and peanuts. Wolfgang Renner, from Cytos Biotechnology, which developed the jab, said: "We think it is a onesize–fits–all mechanism. We are very excited about it."
At the jab’s heart are pieces of synthetic DNA similar to those found in the bug that causes tuberculosis or TB. The DNA fools the body into thinking it is under attack from a dangerous bug, kick–starting a multi–pronged immune response.
Recent trials showed the jab was as effective as taking steroids when used to fight asthma. It found that when comparing 63 asthma sufferers who were given the jab or a fake drug over two or three months, the new vaccine slashed asthma attacks by a third, the Daily Express reported.
In another trial, the drug – CYT003–QbG10 – was given as a jab once a week for six weeks. The scientists found this cut runny noses and weepy eyes – symptoms caused by an allergic reaction to house dust mites and reliance on other medicines – by 39%.
The jab also boosted quality of life by 42%, according to Renner who said larger trials could start next year and the vaccine could be on sale within four years.
Experts have welcomed the jab. An Allergy UK spokesman said: "It does sound a very promising treatment, giving hope for those with severe asthma/allergy symptoms for whom the usual treatments aren’t enough but there is still a long way to go before it will be available."
Leanne Metcalfe, director of research for Asthma UK, added: "We are excited about the potential of this vaccine to make a real difference."
Britain’s NHS currently estimates around ten million people suffer symptoms of hay fever – such as sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes – in the spring and summer as grasses and trees release their pollen into the air. But that number could reach 30 million within 20 years as city living, pollution and climate change exacerbate symptoms. AGENCIES