Allergy vaccine found?
Good hygiene has its flipside. Allergies is one of the most common health problems in Sweden today, with 3 million Swedes having some form of allergy. And the number of people with allergies keeps growing.
”Alleriges is the most widespread disease among children, and one of our most common diseases,” says Eva-Maria Dufva, press secretary at Astma-och Allergiförbundet. The range from those with minor allergies to those with extremely difficult varieties is huge.
The theories on why we are getting more allergic are many—one of them is that it is the flipside to our good hygiene; allergies are more common in the western world.
”But there are other theories as well,” Dufva continues. ”We live differently today, we vaccinate our children, we eat more antibiotics. We expose ourselves to more than we did before.”

Groundbreaking discovery
Now Swedish researchers have made a groundbreaking discovery which may wipe out allergies for good. The latest is a vaccine-like method, which is being tried on dogs, and within a year it will be evaluated. ”So far the dogs have not gotten sick, and we can see that their immune system has been activated,” says Agnes Wold, medical doctor and professor in clinical biology at Sahlgrenska Akademin in Göteborg. The vaccine consists of a bacterial protein, a ”superantigen” that fools the immune system and strengthens the body’s defense. If given to an infant, it may mean the infant never develops allergies. ”In our studies on infants we discovered that they didn’t develop food allergies if they had a certain bacteria in their intestinal flora, which produces this particular protein. This (vaccine) is a way to add that protein.”
In order to commercialize the vaccine, the biotech company Swecure was created and it is currently in discussions with some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. ”We founded Swecure during the second half of 2013 to take advantage of this research. We aim to get the vaccine out in five to eight years,” explains Lars Fahlén, CEO of Swecure. Boel Jönsson, editor-in-chief at Kemivärlden Biotech knows the research and will also write about it: ”It is very serious and Agnes Wold is no spring chicken. But research is always just that … research,” she concludes.