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Fresh hope for hay fever sufferers

A new hay fever vaccine has been developed that works faster and involves far fewer injections than existing treatments, according to reports.

The vaccine, Pollinex Quattro, was found to reduce symptoms by 13% during the "peak" hay fever season, New Scientist magazine reported. The findings prompted the vaccine's maker, Worthing-based Allergy Therapeutics, to claim it is the only one of its kind that works.

The company gave more than 1,000 volunteers in Europe and North America either the vaccine or a placebo just before the start of the pollen season.

During the four "peak" weeks, symptoms were on average 13% less severe in vaccine recipients. A further third of volunteers who recorded their symptoms between May and September reported that the effect appeared to be doubled.

The vaccine requires just four injections over four weeks. It works in such a short time because its pollen protein has been modified to sneak past the body's antibodies, allowing large doses to be given from the start, and to lodge in tissue rather than going directly into the bloodstream, prolonging its effect on the immune system.

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New Scientist

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"I agree this new hay fever vaccine sounds encouraging but what about costs? Will it be cost-effective, as GPs are striving to keep prescibing costs to a minimum by using generics instead of proprietory names and also to meet certain QOF criteria?" - Jean Gibb, Newcastle Upon Tyne