Why isn't there a vaccine for hayfever?

22 May 2011

Question

Why isn't there a vaccine for hayfever?

Answer

Rick - Vaccines boost and stimulate the immune system and the problem with hayfever is an over reactive, unnecessarily reactive immune system. So really, we need an anti-vaccine. I guess because it's easier to start an immune response than stop one, we're likely able to have a single shot, but that's as Pam was telling you, maybe a more softly-softly approach could work.

Chris - Pam, anything to add to that?

Pam - Well, there is a special desensitising vaccine that you can use for pollen allergy which works quite well, so that's not a normal sort of vaccine as Rick was saying which would stimulate the immune system, but there is an allergy vaccine which can work.

Chris - Is that sort of using the same principle as your gently-gently, softly-softly approach to peanut stimulation?

Pam - It's different. No, it's doing it by injection, so it's giving an injection into the skin. So, that systemic sort of stimulation to the body, but otherwise, similar principle, yes.

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