New Diagnostic Tool a Potential Life-Saver for Patients with Allergy to Insect Venom

By Phadia, PRNE
Monday, June 13, 2011

UPPSALA, Sweden, June 14, 2011 -

Bees, wasps and bumble bees pose a
real health threat to individuals with venom allergy. One sting
from these insects may cause potentially life-threatening
anaphylactic reactions in people with these conditions. Physicians
specializing in allergies need adequate tools for finding
individuals that must be protected in advance against insect
venoms. A new diagnostic test involving special allerg encomponents
now makes it easier for specialists to identify optimal anti-venom
therapy for the individual patients. The treatment secures
long-term protection against anaphylactic reactions following
insect stings.

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This information was disclosed at the European Academy of
Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), a meeting held in Istanbul
11 - 15 June, 2011.    

One of the presentations at the EAACI concluded that adequate
treatment of venom allergy require precise assessment of the
allergic reaction and the secure identification of the
allergy-causing substances (allergens) involved. Such information
is best gathered through molecular allergology diagnostic tests
helping allergy specialists to decide on the right treatment for
each individual patient.  

- Making the right decision can be crucial and life saving in
cases of insect venom allergy, says professor, dr Thilo Jakob,
allergist at the University Medical Center in Freiburg,

New allergen components diagnostic
tests pinpoint the cause of allergy

One problem in diagnostic testing against venom allergy is that
traditional diagnostic tests sometimes lack the precision needed to
suggest the optimal treatment for the patient.

In conventional diagnostic tests using complete natural venom
extracts for the detection of allergic reactions to bee or wasp
venom, many patients result positive for allergy to substances from
both insects, although they show clinical reactions to venom from
only one kind. In most cases, such double positivity is due to
specific antibodies, called IgE, directed towards certain molecular
structures (called cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants or
CCDs) present on several venom allergens from bee as well as from
wasp. The IgE reaction to CCDs is detected in the conventional test
as double positivity for both venoms, but these findings have
rarely clinical relevance.

Today, it is possible to eliminate the problem of double
positivity by testing with specially prepared “recombinant”
allergen components completely free from the CCD structures. Tests
using such components provide the same information as traditional
diagnostic tests but can also determine whether double positivity
is caused by “true” allergy to venom of one kind or the other, or
whether the reaction observed is merely the result of CCD-dependent

This new Molecular Allergology diagnostics can thus discriminate
between real and “fake” reactions to bee and wasp venoms thus
helping allergists to find the right and effective treatment for
their patients. Studies have shown that the optimal treatment of
venom allergy is venom immunotherapy (VIT) involving the patient’s
immune system by causing it to tolerate the allergens in insect
venoms. Such “hyposensitization” has the potential to improve the
safety and well-being of patients by providing effective protection
against future anaphylactic reactions in the event of new insect

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About Phadia
Phadia AB develop, manufacture and market complete blood test
systems to support the clinical diagnosis and monitoring of
allergy, asthma and autoimmune diseases. Phadia’s mission is to
dramatically improve the management of allergy, asthma and
autoimmune diseases by providing healthcare professionals with
superior diagnostic technologies and clinical expertise. Phadia
supply more than 7 out of 10 allergy laboratory tests worldwide and
is the fastest growing company within autoimmunity tests supplying
4 out of 10 tests to laboratories throughout Europe. Phadia has
marketing companies in more than 20 countries and distributors in
about 60 countries.

Media Contact:
Ulf Bladin
VP Marketing, Corporate Communication, Scientific Affairs
Tel. +46-18-16-50-00


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