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Journal: Clinical and translational allergy


The introduction of omalizumab to the management of chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) has markedly improved the therapeutic possibilities for both, patients and physicians dealing with this disabling disease. But there is still a hard core of patients who do not tolerate or benefit from existing therapies and who require effective treatment. Novel approaches include the use of currently available drugs off-licence, investigational drugs currently undergoing clinical trials and exploring the potential for therapies directed at pathophysiological targets in CSU. Off-licence uses of currently available drugs include rituximab and tumour necrosis factor inhibitors. Ligelizumab (anti-IgE), canakinumab (anti-IL-1), AZD1981 (a PGD2 receptor antagonist) and GSK 2646264 (a selective Syk inhibitor) are currently in clinical trials for CSU. Examples of drugs that could target potential pathophysiological targets in CSU include substance P antagonists, designed ankyrin repeat proteins, C5a/C5a receptor inhibitors, anti-IL-4, anti-IL-5 and anti-IL-13 and drugs that target inhibitory mast cell receptors. Other mediators and receptors of likely pathogenic relevance should be explored in skin profiling and functional proof of concept studies. The exploration of novel therapeutic targets for their role and relevance in CSU should help to achieve a better understanding of its etiopathogenesis.

Concepts: Protein, Medicine, Signal transduction, Receptor, Ligand, Receptor antagonist, Inverse agonist, Schild regression


Reported COVID-19 deaths in Germany are relatively low as compared to many European countries. Among the several explanations proposed, an early and large testing of the population was put forward. Most current debates on COVID-19 focus on the differences among countries, but little attention has been given to regional differences and diet. The low-death rate European countries (e.g. Austria, Baltic States, Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, Poland, Slovakia) have used different quarantine and/or confinement times and methods and none have performed as many early tests as Germany. Among other factors that may be significant are the dietary habits. It seems that some foods largely used in these countries may reduce angiotensin-converting enzyme activity or are anti-oxidants. Among the many possible areas of research, it might be important to understand diet and angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) levels in populations with different COVID-19 death rates since dietary interventions may be of great benefit.


The prevalence of food hypersensitivity in the UK is still largely open to debate. Additionally its pathogenesis is also unclear although it is known that there are differing phenotypes. Determining its prevalence, along with identifying those factors associated with its development will help to assess its clinical importance within the national setting and also add to the debate on appropriate prevention strategies.

Concepts: Cohort study, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Natural selection, European Union, Medical statistics, Evaluation methods, Allergy


Cow’s milk allergy (CMA) is one of the most common presentations of food allergy seen in early childhood. It is also one of the most complex food allergies, being implicated in IgE-mediated food allergy as well as diverse manifestations of non-IgE-mediated food allergy. For example, gastrointestinal CMA may present as food protein induced enteropathy, enterocolitis or proctocolitis. Concerns regarding the early and timely diagnosis of CMA have been highlighted over the years. In response to these, guideline papers from the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, Europe, the Americas and the World Allergy Organisation have been published. The UK guideline, ‘Diagnosis and management of non-IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy in infancy-a UK primary care practical guide’ was published in this journal in 2013. This Milk Allergy in Primary Care (MAP) guideline outlines in simple algorithmic form, both the varying presentations of cow’s milk allergy and also focuses on the practical management of the most common presentation, namely mild-to-moderate non-IgE-mediated allergy. Based on the international uptake of the MAP guideline, it became clear that there was a need for practical guidance beyond the UK. Consequently, this paper presents an international interpretation of the MAP guideline to help practitioners in primary care settings around the world. It incorporates further published UK guidance, feedback from UK healthcare professionals and affected families and, importantly, also international guidance and expertise.

Concepts: Asthma, Milk, Allergy, United Kingdom, Europe, Food allergy, Lactose intolerance, Milk allergy


We previously estimated that the annual rate of accidental exposure to peanut in 1411 children with peanut allergy, followed for 2227 patient-years, was 11.9% (95% CI, 10.6, 13.5). This cohort has increased to 1941 children, contributing 4589 patient-years, and we determined the annual incidence of accidental exposure, described the severity, management, location, and identified associated factors.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Allergy, Food allergy, Allergology, Peanut, Peanuts


Although there is considerable literature pertaining to IgE and non IgE-mediated food allergy, there is a paucity of information on non-immune mediated reactions to foods, other than metabolic disorders such as lactose intolerance. Food additives and naturally occurring ‘food chemicals’ have long been reported as having the potential to provoke symptoms in those who are more sensitive to their effects. Diets low in ‘food chemicals’ gained prominence in the 1970s and 1980s, and their popularity remains, although the evidence of their efficacy is very limited. This review focuses on the available evidence for the role and likely adverse effects of both added and natural ‘food chemicals’ including benzoate, sulphite, monosodium glutamate, vaso-active or biogenic amines and salicylate. Studies assessing the efficacy of the restriction of these substances in the diet have mainly been undertaken in adults, but the paper will also touch on the use of such diets in children. The difficulty of reviewing the available evidence is that few of the studies have been controlled and, for many, considerable time has elapsed since their publication. Meanwhile dietary patterns and habits have changed hugely in the interim, so the conclusions may not be relevant for our current dietary norms. The conclusion of the review is that there may be some benefit in the removal of an additive or a group of foods high in natural food chemicals from the diet for a limited period for certain individuals, providing the diagnostic pathway is followed and the foods are reintroduced back into the diet to assess for the efficacy of removal. However diets involving the removal of multiple additives and food chemicals have the very great potential to lead to nutritional deficiency especially in the paediatric population. Any dietary intervention, whether for the purposes of diagnosis or management of food allergy or food intolerance, should be adapted to the individual’s dietary habits and a suitably trained dietitian should ensure nutritional needs are met. Ultimately a healthy diet should be the aim for all patients presenting in the allergy clinic.

Concepts: Protein, Amino acid, Nutrition, Allergy, Food allergy, Seafood, Biogenic amine, Diets


BACKGROUND: The transition to adulthood can be particularly challenging for young people with severe allergies, who must learn to balance personal safety with independent living. Information and support for young people and their families are crucial to successfully managing this transition.We sought to: gather insights into the impact of severe allergies on the lives of young people; explore where young people go for information about anaphylaxis and what information they want and need; identify areas where further support is needed. METHODS: An online questionnaire survey of young people aged 15–25 years with severe allergies in the United Kingdom (UK) was conducted on behalf of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, the main patient support organisation. Participants were recruited mainly from the Anaphylaxis Campaign membership database and also via allergy clinics and social media. The study was funded by the Anaphylaxis Campaign’s In Memoriam Fund. RESULTS: A total of 520 young people responded to the survey. The majority had lived with severe allergies since they were young children; 59% reported having attended Accident and Emergency units as a consequence of their allergies. Only 66% of respondents reported always carrying their epinephrine auto-injectors; only 23% had ever used these. Few were currently receiving specialist allergy care; younger respondents were more likely to be under specialist care (34%) than those 18 years and above (23%). Respondents wanted more information about eating out (56%), travelling (54%) and food labelling (43%). Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) reported needing more information on managing their allergies independently without parental help. Managing allergies in the context of social relationships was a concern for 22% of respondents. CONCLUSIONS: This survey has identified the information and support needs and gaps in service provision for young people with severe allergies. Healthcare professionals and patient support organisations, with the support of the food industry, can help to meet these needs.

Concepts: Asthma, Allergy, Food, Organization, Need


Diagnostic tests to detect allergic sensitization were introduced at the end of the nineteenth century but only in the late 1990s did the advent of molecular allergology revolutionize the approach to the allergic patient. Personalized Medicine, a medical procedure that separates patients into different groups with different medical decisions, practices and interventions has sanctioned this change. In fact, in the last few years molecular allergology and the observation that not every patient has the same allergic profile, even when allergic to the same allergenic source, has originated the concept “one size does not fit all”. This new approach requires the identification of still unknown allergens, but also the more detailed investigation of those already known. In depth studies of the structure-function relationships in allergenic molecules can reveal the structural determinants involved in the IgE-binding. Then, the knowledge of the epitope profile of each allergen and of the environmental/experimental conditions affecting the exposure of IgE-binding epitopes can provide important contributions to the understanding of cross-reaction processes and to the improvement of diagnosis, immunotherapy and the overall patient treatment. The evolution of diagnostic systems cannot ignore these new needs in this field.

Concepts: Immune system, Asthma, Molecule, Immunology, Antigen, Atopy, Allergen immunotherapy


Ambient air quality monitoring is a governmental duty that is widely carried out in order to detect non-biological (“chemical”) components in ambient air, such as particles of < 10 µm (PM10, PM2.5), ozone, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. These monitoring networks are publicly funded and air quality data are open to the public. The situation for biological particles that have detrimental effects on health, as is the case of pollen and fungal spores, is however very different. Most pollen and spore monitoring networks are not publicly funded and data are not freely available. The information regarding which biological particle is being monitored, where and by whom, is consequently often not known, even by aerobiologists themselves. This is a considerable problem, as local pollen data are an important tool for the prevention of allergic symptoms.

Concepts: Oxygen, Fungus, Nitrogen, Oxide, Spore, National Ambient Air Quality Standards, Sulfur dioxide, Nitrogen dioxide


Anaphylaxis is defined as a severe life-threatening generalized or systemic hypersensitivity reaction characterized by rapidly developing airway and/or circulation problems. It presents with very different combinations of symptoms and apparently mild signs and can progress to fatal anaphylactic shock unpredictably. The difficulty in recognizing anaphylaxis is due, in part, to the variability of diagnostic criteria, which in turn leads to a delay in administration of appropriate treatment, thus increasing the risk of death. The use of validated clinical criteria can facilitate the diagnosis of anaphylaxis. Intramuscular epinephrine (adrenaline) is the medication of choice for the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis. Administration of corticosteroids and H1-antihistamines should not delay the administration of epinephrine, and the management of a patient with anaphylaxis should not end with the acute episode. Long-term management of anaphylaxis should include avoidance of triggers, following confirmation by an allergology study. Etiologic factors suspected in the emergency department often differ from the real causes of anaphylaxis. Evaluation of patients with a history of anaphylaxis should also include an assessment of personal data, such as age and comorbidities, which may increase the risk of severe reactions. Special attention should also be paid to co-factors, as these may easily confound the cause of the anaphylaxis. Patients experiencing anaphylaxis should administer epinephrine as soon as possible. Education (including the use of Internet and social media), written personalized emergency action plans, and self-injectable epinephrine have proven useful for the treatment of further anaphylaxis episodes.

Concepts: Asthma, Shock, Epinephrine, Anaphylaxis, Allergology