Children growing up on farms have a much lower risk of asthma than others, but it’s not all that fresh air and exercise that does the trick. Instead, it’s exposure to a larger range of bacteria and fungi in the farmyard. That’s the conclusion of investigators who reported in the Feb. 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine on two large European cross-sectional studies that looked at asthma and atopy in more than 16,500 primary school children.
Exposure to microbes “explains a substantial fraction of the inverse relation between asthma and growing up on a farm,” according to Markus Ege, MD, of the University of Munich, and colleagues. If specific microbes can be found that are involved in the protective effect, Ege said in a statement, it might be possible to develop a vaccine against asthma.
However, other experts cautioned that there are a host of other differences between farm and city life that were not measured in the study, so it is premature to conclude that germs are even related to a reduction in asthma risk, let alone cause it.
In the study, children who lived on farms had lower prevalences of asthma and atopy and were exposed to a greater variety of environmental microorganisms than children living in the same areas but not raised on farms.
So there is hope that this and other new conceptual breakthroughs may lead to novel preventive strategies such as vaccines for atopy and asthma. As a CRO that conducts clinical trials in vaccines and with a robust database of asthmatic volunteers, BioKinetic welcomes this research. With the typical drug developement cycle lasting 10-12 years, a new vaccine is still a long way off.
See full story at : http://www.medpagetoday.com/AllergyImmunology/Asthma/25030
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