Information updates

AIFA 2022 research grants announced

The Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia (AIFA) research grants for 2022 were announced at the  ASCIA 2022 Conference AIFA Research Symposium, which also featured presentations by 2020 AIFA grant recipients.

To read more go to www.allergyimmunology.org.au/news/aifa-announces-grant-recipients-for-2022  

To donate or sponsor 2023 AIFA grants go to www.allergyimmunology.org.au/donate

ASCIA's objectives include Research - to promote and fund research to improve health and quality of life of people with allergy and other immune diseases. ASCIA achieves this through AIFA, which was established by ASCIA in 2013, to fund research into allergy, immunodeficiency and other immune system disorders.

  • Only ASCIA members are eligible to apply for AIFA research grants.
  • A total of $629,000 in AIFA research grants have been awarded to 27 research projects since 2015.
  • The 18 research projects that received AIFA grants up to 2020 have been presented at ASCIA Annual Conferences.
  • 100% of donations to AIFA fund research grants, due to the support of ASCIA.
  • Thank you to our generous AIFA donors, sponsors and grant selection panel.

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ASCIA AGM 2022

The ASCIA Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2022 was held on Friday 2nd September, and Minutes are available here www.allergy.org.au/members/ascia-agm

We welcome A/Prof Theresa Cole as the new ASCIA President and thank Prof Michaela Lucas for her excellent leadership as the ASCIA President over the past two challenging years, from 2020 to 2022.

ASCIA Council members for 2022-2024 are listed at www.allergy.org.au/members/committees#counc

Past ASCIA Presidents are listed at www.allergy.org.au/members/ascia-past-presidents

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ASCIA 2022 Conference Report

The ASCIA 2022 Conference was a highly successful hybrid event which was held from Tuesday 30th August to Friday 2nd September, with in-person participation in Melbourne.

The conference attracted more than 600 registered delegates, with around 60 per cent of delegates attending in person, and more than 150 sponsors and exhibitors. Delegates seemed to welcome their interactions with colleagues for the first time since 2019 at an ASCIA Conference.

Congratulations and thank you to the ASCIA 2022 Chair, Dr Dean Tey and the organising committee for compiling an outstanding program which included more than 40 sessions presented over four days.

ASCIA conferences are the leading source of allergy and clinical immunology CPD for health professionals in Australia and New Zealand. To provide further CPD opportunities, registered delegates can view sessions on demand for six months after the conference.

Read the full ASCIA 2022 Conference Report at www.allergy.org.au/conferences/ascia-annual-conference

The Basten Oration presented by Dr David Hill can be viewed open access at www.allergy.org.au/conferences/ascia-annual-conference/annual-ascia-basten-oration

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Anapen® now approved for 3 seconds

The time for Anapen® adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjectors to be held in place has now been approved for 3 seconds (reduced from 10 seconds) by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Whilst the time has reduced from 10 to 3 seconds, Anapen® devices have not changed. This reduction is based on data that confirms efficacy and delivery of adrenaline through the 3 second time frame.

All Anapen® devices should now be held in place for 3 seconds, regardless of the instructions on the label.  However, if they are held for 10 seconds it will not affect the way that the adrenaline works. 

Anapen® devices with the 3 second label are expected to enter pharmacies in Australia from January 2023 onwards. In the meantime, Anapen® devices with a 10 second label can continue to be used, and injected for 3 seconds. Anapen® devices should not be replaced unless they have been used, are just about to expire or have expired.  

To access the updated Anapen® versions of the ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis (red) and ASCIA First Aid Plan for Anaphylaxis (orange) go to www.allergy.org.au/hp/anaphylaxis/ascia-action-plan-for-anaphylaxis   

The Anapen® version of the ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis (red) is provided to people with allergies who have been prescribed Anapen® adrenaline autoinjectors, which have been available on the PBS in Australia since September 2021. In September 2022 the TGA has approved Anapen® to be held in place for 3 seconds (reduced from 10 seconds). 

ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training courses have been revised to include the updated Anapen® version of the ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis and instructions. 

Anapen®  doses recommended by ASCIA:

  1. Anapen® 150 (Jr): Children 7.5-20 kg (~1-5 yr)
  2. Anapen® 300: Adults or children >20kg (>5 yr)
  3. Anapen® 500: Adults or children >50kg (>12 yr)

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Launch of National Allergy Council and National Allergy Centre of Excellence

In a major step towards addressing Australia’s allergy epidemic, the Hon. Ged Kearney MP, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, alongside allergy experts, has launched two world-first allergy organisations at a media event on Wednesday 31st August 2022 in Melbourne, during the ASCIA 2022 Conference week.

The new National Allergy Council and National Allergy Centre of Excellence are backed by a $26.9 million Federal Government investment, and will address recommendations from the Walking the allergy tightrope report from the Parliamentary Inquiry into allergies and anaphylaxis:

  • The National Allergy Council (NAC) is a natural progression of the highly valued and successful National Allergy Strategy. The NAC will continue to implement and expand the National Allergy Strategy as a partnership between the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) and Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) – the leading medical and patient support organisations for allergy in Australia.
  • The Centre for Food & Allergy Research (CFAR), hosted at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, has expanded to become the National Allergy Centre of Excellence (NACE). As Australia’s peak allergy research body, it will develop hubs for allergy research, repository and discovery, evidence and translation, and training and innovation. This will ensure Australia remains at the forefront of evidence-based management of allergic disease.
  • The NAC and NACE, with support from the country’s peak allergy organisations encompassing clinicians, researchers, policy-makers, patients and carers, look forward to working together to ensure efficient translation of the latest research into practice.

These initiatives will help accelerate allergy research and clinical care, to improve the lives of five million Australians living with allergic disease and prevent anaphylaxis, including needless deaths.

Read the Media Release here

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Improved access to ASCIA website information

The ASCIA team works with ASCIA member committees and working parties to review, update and develop world leading, accessible, consistent and evidence based online resources, education and training, to support ASCIA members, other health professionals, patients, carers and the community.

As part of ASCIA's ongoing commitment to improving access to ASCIA website resources, education and training, and enhance the user experience, new webpages have been developed for health professionals:

To improve access to ASCIA website information for patients and carers, and enhance the user experience, a new webpage www.allergy.org.au/patients/information has been developed, and ReadSpeaker has been added, to improve access for people with:

  • Vision impairment, limited reading ability or learning disabilities, by allowing text to speech (TTS).
  • Non-English speaking backgrounds - information can be translated into 20 different languages by highlighting the text and selecting 'translate’.

To find out how ASCIA resources are developed go to:  www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/website-information

This news item was issued on 17 August 2022 by Jill Smith, CEO of the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA). ASCIA is the peak professional body for clinical immunology and allergy in Australia and New Zealand.   

New Food Allergy Course for Residential Care

A new food allergy training course for staff working with vulnerable people in a variety of residential care settings has been developed as part of the National Allergy Strategy. The course is intended for staff working in aged care and other residential care, transitional care, respite care, rehabilitation care, mental health, disability, drug and alcohol, quarantine facilities and services, correctional and detention facilities, hospices and other overnight, short and long stay facilities.

The new e-training course, All about Allergens for Residential Care is provided free of charge on the National Allergy Strategy Food Allergy Training platform (www.foodallergytraining.org.au). It is designed to assist food service staff and staff who supervise residents when they are eating or participating in food-related activities, to gain knowledge about food allergies and best practice procedures. The course is suitable for cooks, chefs and kitchen staff, nurses and care staff, service managers and supervisors, allied health professionals including dietitians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and diversional and recreational therapists working in a residential care setting.

Through engagement with stakeholders working in this sector, this course reflects an understanding of unique challenges in providing food to residents with food allergy. Residents who may be incapable of, or have difficulty with communicating about their food allergy, have less control in preparing their own food. However, some residents are transient, having greater autonomy and mobility, which may put others who are less able, at greater risk. Staff preparing food and supervising mealtimes in these settings need practical training and best-practice safety processes that are versatile to the environment in which they work. We have seen high demand for food allergy training from food service staff working in the aged care sector particularly, and we now have a specific course relevant to this group.

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New ASCIA Radiocontrast Media Position Statement

The new ASCIA Radiocontrast Media Position Statement for health professionals is available at https://www.allergy.org.au/hp/drug-allergy/radiocontrast-media

Radiocontrast media (RCM) are a group of medical drugs used to improve the visibility of internal organs and structures of X-ray based imaging, such as plain film radiography and computed tomography (CT) scans. Adverse events related to administration of RCM include hypersensitivity (allergic-type) reactions and radiocontrast-induced nephropathy.

This statement focuses on hypersensitivity reactions to intravenous administered iodinated RCM.

It is important that all nurses, radiographers and medical practitioners who administer RCM are trained in the recognition of contrast reactions, the procedures for treating these reactions (including anaphylaxis), and resuscitation procedures (including CPR).

Although anaphylaxis to RCM is uncommon, it is important that any service using RCM is equipped and trained to treat anaphylaxis, which has been highlighted by a report from the Coroners Court of Victoria regarding the death of Peta Hickey on 9 May 2019. coronerscourt.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-12/HickeyPeta_233619.pdf

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