Information updates

Australian peanut allergy treatment receives $10 million in funding

May 29, 2017

The development of a promising new treatment for peanut allergy in children will be the first project to receive $10 million in funding under the Turnbull Government’s Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF). 

The Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, and the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Arthur Sinodinos has announced the first investment commitment under the BTF. The BTF combines $250 million of Commonwealth funding to be at least matched by private capital secured by independent licensed fund managers to realise a substantial $500 million fund. 

The purpose of this fund is to invest in Australian biomedical ideas with great potential for commercialisation. “The BTF is designed to change and improve the lives of Australians. This innovative solution to a lethal allergy experienced by so many kids and their parents in Australia and around the world has resulted from the great collaborative efforts of Prof Mimi Tang at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Prota Therapeutics,” Minister Hunt said.

For further information go to

New ASCIA Guide for health professionals on introduction of peanut to infants with severe eczema and/or food allergy

May 18, 2017:   

A new ASCIA Guide for introduction of peanut to infants with severe eczema and/or food allergy has been developed, to provide options and information for health professionals (particularly GPs) about introducing peanut to infants with severe eczema and/or existing food allergy.  These infants are considered to have an increased risk of developing peanut allergy.   

This guide should be used in conjunction with ASCIA Guidelines for infant feeding and allergy prevention.

An updated version of parent information on how to introduce solid foods for allergy prevention is also available.

Health professionals can access all 3 documents at

Parents can access the Guidelines and information about how to introduce solid foods for allergy prevention at

ASCIA Guidelines - Vaccination of the egg-allergic individual - 2017 update

May 17, 2017

A revised version of the ASCIA Guidelines for vaccination of the egg-allergic individual is now available, which aims to provide updated recommendations for vaccination of egg-allergic individuals, consistent with international and current Australian and New Zealand Guidelines. The updated Guidelines are available open access on the ASCIA website:

The following is a summary of the revisions. 


  • Based on prospective and retrospective studies of influenza vaccination in those with and without egg allergy (including egg anaphylaxis), the presence of egg allergy does not increase the risk of allergic reactions to the influenza vaccine.
  • The entire vaccine can be administered in community vaccination clinics (which may or may not have direct medical practitioner supervision) as a single dose followed by the recommended 15 (Australia) or 20 (New Zealand) minute waiting period.
  • In making this recommendation, we are aware that some guidelines (e.g. CDC 2017) recommend a longer waiting period of 30 minutes in those with past egg anaphylaxis and that occasionally allergic reactions to vaccination may commence later than 20-30 minutes after administration The immediate availability of medical practitioner care is recommended and staff should be familiar with the recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis.
  • In individuals who have had anaphylaxis following administration of the influenza vaccine itself, further vaccination should be avoided without specialist allergy assessment.
  • If there is significant parental or health professional anxiety, the vaccine may be administered in primary care settings with a longer waiting period of 30 minutes.

Not recommended

  • “Split dosing”
  • Allergy testing with the vaccine or to egg prior to administration
  • Ingestion of egg as a pre-condition to administering the vaccine (relevant in infants)
  • Vaccination in specific hospital-based vaccination clinics
  • Allergy specialist review before influenza vaccination unless anaphylaxis to the influenza vaccine itself has occurred previously

Updated ASCIA anaphylaxis resources webpage

May 15, 2017 

ASCIA has recently undertaken a large systemic review of ASCIA patient information (around 90 articles) on the ASCIA website.

As a result of this process we have updated the ASCIA anaphylaxis resources webpage, to make it easier to locate and access resources:

This webpage, which can now be accessed from the ASCIA website homepage, includes quick links to world leading resources, including ASCIA Action Plans and ASCIA e-training courses.

ASCIA anaphylaxis resources are applicable to Australia and New Zealand, and are available open access and free of charge.  

Food Allergy Week 2017

May 14, 2017 

This week is Food Allergy Week (14-20 May 2017), an annual initiative that aims to raise awareness about the importance of understanding food allergies to help protect those at risk.

To find out about Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) activities during Food Allergy Week go to

Membership of A&AA is now free and as a member you will receive regular communications including food products changes and recalls. To join go to

Last week the Senate of the federal Australian government supported a Green’s motion by Senator Di Natale on Food Allergy Week acknowledging that it is an opportunity to highlight the high rates of food allergy in Australia and to encourage Australians to know how to respond to an allergy emergency 

Thunderstorm asthma review

May 3, 2017 

Last week a report titled “Review of response to the thunderstorm asthma event of 21–22 November 2016” was released by the Inspector-General for Emergency Management on the Victorian thunderstorm asthma event in November 2016, which is believed to have resulted in nine deaths. ASCIA contributed to this report, which contains 25 findings and 16 recommendations.

The Victorian government has announced a $15.56 million funding package for recommendations from this report, that include:

  • Research to improve understanding and treatment of epidemic thunderstorm asthma

  • Education and engagement campaigns to assist communities prepare for and respond to epidemic thunderstorm asthma

  • Increased monitoring and analytics of pollen

  • Real time monitoring of data sources including emergency departments

  • Emergency management training for hospitals and health workers

To access the full report go here

Another report was released last week on the assessment of health impacts due to the November 2016 thunderstorm asthma event in Victoria.
To access this report go to

Information on thunderstorm asthma on the ASCIA website was updated in December 2016 and is available at

Allergy testing and avoidance of allergic triggers is an important part of allergy and asthma management

Apr 2, 2017 

A media report on the Weekend Sunrise program has caused considerable confusion and misunderstanding about the role of allergy testing, with possible dangerous consequences if food allergy testing is performed without medical supervision in people at risk of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).

Here are the facts:

1. Allergy testing should only be performed under medical supervision using proven methods (skin prick tests or blood tests for allergen-specific IgE) in individuals with suspected food, medication or insect allergy, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and/or asthma.

2. Allergy test results cannot be used on their own and must be considered together with an individual's clinical history. This combined information helps doctors confirm which substances individuals are allergic to, so that appropriate avoidance advice can be given. For example when an individual has had a suspected or actual allergic reaction to a nut, nut allergy should be confirmed with an allergy test. It is not necessary to test for, or avoid nuts which the individual is known to have eaten without reaction.

3. Oral allergen challenge testing for food or medication allergy (under medical supervision) may be required to confirm diagnosis. This is usually performed under the supervision of an allergy/clinical immunology specialist with appropriate resuscitation facilities immediately available. For example, in the case of positive allergy tests to nuts, the individual should avoid eating the nuts until proven non-allergic by medically supervised oral allergen challenge.

4. Allergy tests should not be used for screening. It is possible for some individuals to be sensitised to an allergen, and have a positive allergy test, but have no clinical symptoms.

For further information go to:

The published study that the media report was based on is available at: 


Content updated 2 April 2017

Urgent TGA Medicine Recall – EpiPen 300 batches 5FA665, 5FA6651, 5FA6652, 5FA6653 (expiry April 2017)

Apr 2, 2017 

Further to the news issued on March 20, no additional batches of EpiPen® 300 adrenaline autoinjectors supplied in Australia or New Zealand have been recalled, as the most recent batches recalled were supplied in other countries. 

Mar 20, 2017:  

Alphapharm Pty Ltd, following consultation with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is recalling 4 batches of EpiPen® 300 microgram adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjectors, used for the treatment of allergic emergencies (anaphylaxis). This recall is due to the potential that these devices may contain a defective part that may result in the device failing to activate or requiring increased force to activate.

If the EpiPen fails to activate it may result in life threatening adverse events as the underlying anaphylaxis will not be treated.

The batch numbers affected (which all expire in April 2017 are as follows: 

5FA665, 5FA6651, 5FA6652, 5FA6653.

If you have an EpiPen:

  1. Check if you have a 300 μg EpiPen® (yellow carton and label) and if you do, check the batch number and expiry. The batch number and expiry can be found on the label of the pen or on the end of the carton.
  2. If your EpiPen® 300μg has the following batch numbers 5FA665, 5FA6651, 5FA6652 or 5FA6653 and an expiry of Apr 17, you need to replace it with a new one as soon as possible by returning to your pharmacist.

    batch number on EpiPen 300
  3. Your pharmacist will replace the EpiPen® 300μg from the affected batch with an EpiPen® 300μg from a different batch FREE OF CHARGE.
  4. You must keep your current EpiPen® until you get a replacement and use it if required.

If your EpiPen® 300μg is not from a batch listed above or is a green EpiPen® Jr 150μg adrenaline autoinjector, your product is not affected by this recall and no action is required.

Alphapharm Pty Ltd sincerely regrets any inconvenience to its customers.

Further information is available on the TGA website: 

pdfConsumer advertisement Epipen 300 Recall130.81 KB

Urgent Medical Recall EpiPen


World Allergy Week 2-8 April 2017

Mar 8, 2017

This is a global campaign of the World Allergy Organisation (WAO) which aims to raise awareness of the impact of allergy in our communities.

This years' theme is 'The Agony of Hives – What to do when hives and swelling don’t go away'. AIFA and ASCIA (as a member society of the WAO) are supporting this initiative in Australia and New Zealand through our new 'wear a spot of red' campaign.

This campaign encourages our supporters to help raise awareness and funds to support research into allergy, by wearing a spot of red or holding an event in their home, school or workplace. Why not organise a 'wear a spot of red' mufti day at work, decorate your workspace or classroom using 'a spot of red' or host a 'spot of red' morning tea or bake sale?

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