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by Joanna Schaffhausen, ABCNews, 5 Oct 2006
A POTENTIAL RAGWEED VACCINE
A small study of 25 people, only 15 of whom completed the full study, finds that injections that lower the body's immune system reaction to ragweed may help alleviate people's symptoms during ragweed season. In the study, adults with ragweed allergy received either six once-a-week injections of the ragweed vaccine or injections with a placebo vaccine.
The vaccine was not a home run, as it failed to meet its major target for success, which was reducing nasal reaction when volunteers were tested with ragweed in the lab. However, the vaccine did show some potential. It improved volunteers' symptoms as self-rated in diaries they kept during the experiment and improved their quality of life during hay fever season. Moreover, the effects of the vaccine appeared to carry over into a second year, relieving symptoms for a second straight season. This study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers from Johns Hopkins University.