Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine are trying to find out if the antibodies we all have to fight parasites might be attacking harmless triggers as well. Could the “hygiene” hypothesis, that we now have fewer parasites to fight so the immune system attacks allergens as well, be the reason there is such a large increase in allergies?
Protein analysis suggests that antibodies that evolved to fight parasites might be turning their focus to otherwise harmless agents.
By Brian Handwerk
October 29, 2015
Peanuts. Bees. Pets. Trees. For most people, these things are harmless parts of everyday life. But for allergy sufferers, plenty of seemingly innocuous items can be unbearably irritating and even lethal. Now scientists have uncovered a possible molecular reason why humans evolved to have allergies, and it could lead to new ways to treat the troublesome condition.