Bee sting allergy breakthrough
There's been a breakthrough for those who are allergic to bee stings, with South Australian researchers developing a world-first vaccine designed to eliminate the risk of severe reactions.
A human trial has been successfully completed, and researchers hope it will replace the current vaccine.
“If we can improve the treatment for bee sting allergy, that's going to have a major global impact,” Professor Nikolai Petrovsky from Flinders University said.
South Australian researchers have successfully completed a 10 year human trial of a vaccine designed to eliminate the risk of developing an allergic reaction to the common honeybee.
Twenty-seven people with bee allergies took part in the clinical trial at Flinders University and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
“If people have an allergy to venom they make a particular anti-body or protein called IGE that is the protein that triggers the allergic reaction,” Professor Nikolai Petrovsky said.
It works by blocking the antibodies and stopping the bee venom from reaching the immune cells, and triggering an allergic reaction.
The immunisation contains a unique sugar-based ingredient, developed in Adelaide which helps the body neutralise the bee venom at a faster rate.
“By adding a plant-based sugar compound to the existing bee venom vaccine we're able to significantly improve the speed of which the vaccine works,” Professor Petrovsky said.
Researchers say the current treatment option for serious bee venom allergies is lengthy and cumbersome.
They hope this enhanced bee venom therapy will result in faster and longer lasting protection to stings.
“Currently people with severe allergy have to have a vaccine every month, potentially for the rest of their life,” Professor Petrovsky said.
It's estimated one in 30 people are allergic to bee venom but it's impossible to find out if you are, until you are stung.
“Bee venom allergy is much more common that we might imagine,” Professor Petrovsky said.
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