New Allergy Vaccine Could Also Protect Against Hepatitis B

BM32, a newly developed grass pollen allergy vaccine, might be useful in another area besides the treatment of grass pollen allergy patients. It could also play a role in the further development of the hepatitis B vaccine, according to the results of a study from the Medical University of Vienna*.

As part of her doctoral thesis at the MedUni Vienna, Carolin Cornelius discovered that patients vaccinated with BM32 who had previously not received the current hepatitis B vaccine had an 80 per cent lower rate of infection with the hepatitis B virus. The researcher believes that the active ingredient BM32 might also provide a major incentive to improve the hepatitis B vaccine and the treatment of chronic hepatitis (HBV). Around 240 million people are chronically infected with HBV – the equivalent of 3% of the global population.

The BM32 grass pollen allergy vaccine is based on recombinant peptide-carrier technology developed at the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Allergy Research at the Medical University of Vienna. Immunisation with BM32 requires three to four injections per year. In traditional long-term therapy for subcutaneous hyposensitisation or immunotherapy, at least four and often many more injections in various combinations are usually administered over the course of three years.

The effectiveness of BM32 against hepatitis B was discovered during a phase IIb clinical study evaluating the effectiveness and safety of BM32 in grass pollen allergy sufferers. Two different doses were used over the course of the two-year study to test the hypothesis as to whether BM32 leads to long-term relief of allergy symptoms.

Here you can view the complete study in English.

* Immunotherapy with the preS-based grass pollen allergy vaccine BM32 induces antibody responses protecting against hepatitis B infection. C. Cornelius, K. Schöneweis, F. Georgi, et al. EBioMedicine (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.07.023

** (WHO 2015a; WHO 2015b).