The most widely used methods of testing for allergies via blood tests are not the most pleasant. Now a new study has suggested that drawing blood or pricking the skin to take a sample could be replaced with the more comfortable use of a nasal swab.
Previous research has suggested that allergy-related antibodies found in the blood may also be present in nasal secretions.
Scientists at Germany's Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München used a diagnostic device called the Immuno Solid‐phase Allergen Chip (ISAC) to see if it could detect antibodies in smears of secretions from the nose. The biochip was already known to be capable of detecting antibodies produced by allergic reactions within blood samples.
47 test subjects who were known to react to airborne allergens such as dust mite droppings, grass pollen, and the pollen of birch, hazelnut and alder trees. Two individuals with no known allergies served as a control. Nasal fluid and blood samples were collected from all 49 people, then analysed using the ISAC.
The same "allergic sensitization patterns" were detectable in both blood and nasal secretions. Interestingly, and although more research is needed, it is believed that certain allergy-associated antibodies may be measurable in nasal secretions that are not identified in blood.
- See the published research paper here.
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