Dust Mite Allergy Diagnostic Test & Therapeutic Vaccine Together, We Brighten the Future!
Allergy is one of the most important chronic diseases. If the treatment is not appropriate, it may result in a long-term impact on the quality of life of the patient. Previously, the diagnosis of allergies relied on various imported reagents which are expensive. Moreover, some allergens are not substances that Thai people allergic to. Therefore, there are collaborations in many specialists, including medical doctors, scientists, and pharmaceutical companies, in research and development of diagnostic tests and therapeutic vaccines. This collaboration results in an effective diagnostic test kit and therapeutic vaccine. In this article, we are honored to have Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pongsakorn Tantilipikorn, Head of Center of Research Excellence in Allergy, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital to share the breakthrough innovation on the innovation of the therapeutic vaccine and diagnostic test kit to treat dust mite allergy with us.
The prevalence of the allergy in Thailand comparing to the world is around 20 – 40% and the percentage at Siriraj Hospital is at a high level comparing to the hospitals all over the world.
“Allergy can affect patient’s quality of life as it may lead to comorbidities such as sleep apnea, snoring, and asthma as well” said Prof. Tantilipikorn
Siriraj takes allergy into account very seriously as same as the prevalence number of allergy patients in Thailand. There are 3 principles in taking care of patients with allergy. First, identify whether or not the patient is an allergy to something. Second, medication and the last principle are to use the substance that patient allergy to and put into their bodies to make them less allergic.
“In order to identify that is the patient allergic to something, we need a diagnostic test and if the patient doesn’t respond well to the medication, then we need the therapeutic vaccine. This has inspired us as a team to invent the diagnostic test and proper treatment for our patients” Prof. Tantilipikorn explained.
The key success of this breakthrough innovation seems to be the huge support from Siriraj Executive Board and a multidisciplinary team.
“I and my colleagues along with the multidisciplinary team e.g. scientists, physicians, as well as staff in our office are working together and overcome many obstacles. The main obstacle that we have overcome is the endorsement of the Thailand FDA on mass production of our vaccine. With the great support from faculty and staff, we gained approval and now standing in front of all ASEAN countries in this field”
What Thai people will receive from this breakthrough innovation is they can know that what makes them allergic by using the diagnostic test kit and receive proper treatment by the therapeutic vaccine which allow them to live their lives like normal people.
“This is what we call translational research from the laboratory to the bedside and to clinical practice”
The disadvantage of the therapeutic vaccine required the patients to come to the hospital every week to receive an allergen in the increasing rate every week to create immunization on what the patient is allergic to. However, the pros of this therapeutic vaccine seem to be much more worthwhile than the cons.
“This is the only way that can permanently cure the allergy in the patients for the rest of their life even though the drawback requires them to come to our hospital for 4 – 5 years. We also need to be careful in giving the patients an allergen otherwise the overdose of a vaccine may result in asthmatic attack or shock. In this matter, we are having the team to monitor the amount of the vaccine and respond rate carefully”
The road of the therapeutic vaccine in Thailand is just the beginning and there are many more exciting innovations to pop out in the future. One of the future development is the eradicating the cons of the therapeutic vaccine in nowadays.
“We have nearly completed the non-injection vaccine which we will try to launch them in the near future so this can allow the patients to vaccinate themselves at home under the medical prescription order i.e. intranasal vaccine and sublingual delivery”
Working together with mutual trust is the motto of Prof. Pongsakorn and his multidisciplinary team.
“As a team, we are all optimistic about the obstacles and push our efforts together with trust to recreate good things to our society and benefits of mankind” Prof. Tantilipikorn ended up.