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AIFA announces 2016 research grants

The AIFA Board is pleased to announce two $10,000 grants, one supporting research into insect allergy treatment and the second that will improve development of a drug for allergy.  Over the past 3 years AIFA has provided a total of $100,000 in research grants.

Jack Jumper Ant Allergy

J J A Team

Allergies to venoms from stinging insects are one of the most common causes of severe allergic reactions in Australia, and cause more deaths than shark attacks, yet they are rarely reported. Symptoms include an all-over rash, swelling of tongue or throat, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting or a drop in blood pressure.

A $10,000 grant has been awarded to a research project that will assess whether treatment for allergic reactions to Jack Jumper Ant stings is effective. The Chief Investigator is Dr Pravin Hissaria, with Professor Bob Heddle and Dr Adriana (Thanh-Thai) Le on the project team based at SA Pathology in Adelaide. The title of the project is "Assessment of the Basophil Activation Test as a tool for monitoring therapeutic responses to Jack Jumper Ant Venom Immunotherapy".

Read more: AIFA announces 2016 research grants

Bowral Ride for Eczema Awareness

Bowral Classic for AIFAEczema or atopic dermatitis occurs in 1 in 5 children under two. In people with eczema the skin barrier does not work as well so moisture is easily lost, causing the skin to dry out and be more susceptible to allergens and irritants.

Eczema causes redness and a desire to itch, which may result in broken and bleeding skin. It is common for people with eczema to have other allergies, suggesting that there is an inherited or genetic factor involved.

Thank you to Matthew Limbrey for raising awareness of eczema and funds for AIFA research by riding in the inaugural Bowral Classic bike ride through the Southern Highlands of New South Wales on 23rd October.

"Team Itchy & Scratchy Racing took on the best the Southern Highlands can offer, Matthew writes. "We raised money to help rid the scourge of eczema."

Read more: Bowral Ride for Eczema Awareness

Research Projects on Shortlist for AIFA Grants

This year AIFA grants have drawn interest and collaborations from researchers all over Australia. Expressions of Interest submitted covered topics as varied as immunotherapy for urticaria, insect allergy, drug allergy and how primary immunodeficiencies affect the immune system.

Our Grant Selection Panel has been working hard assessing the projects. They consider how the research will be done and the likelihood of achieving real clinical outcomes for patients. The panel strongly believe in encouraging collaborations across states and institutions. We are now down to a shortlist of 6 projects for the two grants available this year.

Read more: Research Projects on Shortlist for AIFA Grants

AIFA seed funding leads to NHMRC grant

seedling-largeWe are proud to announce that the AusPollen project has been awarded $626,442 in the latest round of NHMRC Partnership Project grants with a further $653,129 in partner organisation in kind and cash support. AusPollen, the Australian Pollen Allergen Partnership, will build, implement and evaluate the first standardised national pollen monitoring network.

Grass pollen is the main outdoor trigger for allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and allergic asthma. This project seeks to improve the management of people with these common conditions, by delivering pollen alerts and healthcare information via websites and apps.

Read more: AIFA seed funding leads to NHMRC grant

City2Surf Walk for Allergy Research

Michelle her friend JohnThe AIFA team is raising money for allergy research by walking 14km from the centre of Sydney to Bondi Beach during the annual City2Surf.

If you want to run you are welcome to set up a break away group!

The first step is to pay for registration to enter the walk at

Then join the team by setting up a supporters page with Everyday Hero under Michelle Haskard's Walk for Allergy Research team page.

Share on social media or by email with your network to help spread the word.

There is a free cap for all participants.

Find out about Michelle's friend John and more at:

Read more: City2Surf Walk for Allergy Research

Update on Allergy Prevention in Infants

mother and babyRecently published studies do not support the delayed introduction of potentially allergenic foods nor the use of partially hydrolysed formula for allergy prevention in infants.
ASCIA Guidelines for infant feeding and allergy prevention and information on how to introduce solid foods to infants were released on 18 May 2016 on the ASCIA website: 

These documents reflect the findings of recent studies and combine the information from the previous ASCIA Infant Feeding Advice and ASCIA Guidelines for Allergy Prevention.

The Guidelines also include 3 revised recommendations, based on a consensus agreement by participants in the Centre for Food & Allergy Research (CFAR) Infant Feeding Guidelines Summit, hosted by Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) on Friday 13th May 2016.

This Summit resulted in consensus, as reported in Health Matters: 


Read more: Update on Allergy Prevention in Infants

Importance of Early Detection of Primary Immunodeficiency (PID)

ASCIA Primary Immunodeficiencies (PID) e-training

Early recognition of primary immunodeficiency (PID) is vital as early referral to a specialist improves management of disease. A new e-training course for health professionals has been released by ASCIA that aims to increase awareness of PID amongst general practitioners, paediatricians and general physicians. 

Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is the most serious form of primary immunodeficiency and is usually diagnosed in early infancy. It is a rare disorder, thought to affect less than ten Australian children born each year.

Primary immune deficiencies, such as SCID, are caused bydefects in cells of the immune system. This contrasts with secondary immunodeficiency diseases such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which is caused by infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

SCID is usually an inherited disorder. Babies are still dying in Australia from SCID. If diagnosed and their bone marrow transplanted within the first 3 months of life, a child has a 95% chance of survival.

Newborn screening for SCID will prevent infant deaths from undiagnosed SCID and also enable the potential diagnosis of other primary immune deficiencies. The Immune Deficiencies Foundation of Australia is campaigning for newborn screening for SCID.

Read more: Importance of Early Detection of Primary Immunodeficiency (PID)

©2020 Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia