Hay fever vaccine is effective for 2 years

An experimental hay fever vaccine, which takes six weeks to work, can protect patients against allergic symptoms for up to two years, US researchers have found.

Symptoms cut by 60 per cent

Just six injections of the DNA-based vaccine against ragweed pollen reduced patients’ symptoms of allergic rhinitis by 60 per cent, they found.  

The researchers created the vaccine by combining a ragweed-pollen antigen with a sequence of DNA that inhibits the immune response characteristic of allergy.  

This vaccine requires a much shorter course of treatment than the three to five years that traditional immunotherapy requires.  

The researchers then carried out a trial including 25 patients aged between 23 and 60 who were allergic to ragweed. They were randomly assigned to receive six weekly injections of either the ragweed vaccine or a placebo.  

Following treatment, the patients underwent a ragweed challenge and their nasal secretions were tested for inflammatory markers. Their allergic symptoms were then monitored over two years.  

The researchers found that the vaccine did not have the effect on albumin levels in nasal secretions after the ragweed challenge that had been anticipated.  

However, the patients who received the vaccine had improved clinical outcomes compared to the control group.  

The severity of their allergic rhinitis symptoms throughout the ragweed season was approximately a third of that experienced by the placebo group, as measured by a visual analogue chart.  

This difference was maintained throughout the second ragweed season.  

Lead researcher Dr Peter Creticos, medical director of the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center in Baltimore, said: ‘This therapeutic intervention heralds a major advance in the treatment of allergic rhinitis.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Labour shadow health secretary Wes Streeting

Labour plans neighbourhood walk-in GP centres open seven days a week

Labour would set up new neighbourhood walk-in GP hubs that could be open seven days...

Scotland's cabinet secretary for health and social care Michael Matheson

Primary care will need bigger share of NHS funding in future, Scottish health secretary says

The share of NHS funding that goes to primary care will have to increase if the health...

Sign pointing to hospital

NHS England seeks to clarify GPs' responsibilities when using advice and guidance

New guidance from NHS England has set out the clinical responsibilities and medicolegal...

Widespread joint pain - red flag symptoms

Presentations and red flag symptoms that may alert you to potentially serious conditions...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Supporting neurodivergent doctors and staff in general practice

Talking General Practice speaks to GPs Dr Beckie Akroyd and Dr Catherine Bell about...

BMA Scotland GP committee chair Dr Andrew Buist

General practice in Scotland 'in serious trouble', warns BMA Scotland GP chair

General practice in Scotland has reached a tipping point, with demand far outstripping...