Information updates

ASCIA 2021 Virtual Conference Registration and Abstract Submission is Now Open

It is a pleasure to invite you to participate in the ASCIA 2021 Conference, which is being hosted as a virtual event from Wednesday 1st to Friday 3rd September 2021.

The ASCIA 2021 Conference will provide registered delegates with:

  • An international standard of continuing professional development, with the latest research and issues in allergy and clinical immunology presented by more than 60 speakers, including 12 international experts.
  • An interactive program that allows delegates to submit questions online during live Q&A sessions.
  • Access to all sessions, which will also be available as video recordings on the ASCIA 2021 Conference platform, including concurrent programs for Nurses, Dietitians and Associate Medical Days on Friday.
  • Complimentary registration for ASCIA 2021 Conference dinner meetings on Thursday 2nd September which will be held in Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
  • Opportunities to submit abstracts for posters - accepted posters will be uploaded to the ASCIA 2021 Conference platform and will be published online in a citable medical journal.
  • Opportunities for advanced trainees in allergy/immunology to submit abstracts for Clinical Grand Rounds (CGR) - accepted CGR abstracts will be selected for oral presentations.
  • Opportunities to present in the CFAR Hot Publications - Food Allergy Research session. Submissions will be made directly to CFAR, not via the ASCIA 2021 Conference website.
  • An update on research projects funded from 2015-2019 by the Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia (AIFA).
  • Access to updates about new products in sponsored sessions and in the 3D virtual exhibition.
  • Exceptional value, with discounted earlybird registration fees that we expect will encourage ASCIA members and other health professionals with an interest in allergy and clinical immunology to register. These reasonably priced fees are possible due to support from ASCIA 2021 Sponsors and Exhibitors.

To register go to

To view the program go to

To submit an abstract go to

The ASCIA 2021 Conference program includes presentations by 12 international keynote speakers:

  • Dr Kimberly Blumenthal (USA) 
    - IgE Mediated Drug Allergy Reactions
  • Prof Wen-Hung Chung (Taiwan) 
    - T Cell Mediated Drug Reactions and Novel Technologies
  • Dr Andrew Gennery (UK)
    - TAPID Collaboration from a UK Perspective
  • Prof David Khan (USA)
    - Re-Labelling Drug Allergy
  • Prof Mark Little (Ireland)
    - Targeting Subclinical-Immune Pathology in ANCA Vasculitis 
  • Dr Rosan Meyer (UK)
    - Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) 
  • Prof Antonella Muraro (Italy) 
    - Pathogenesis of Food Allergy
  • Prof Elizabeth Phillips (USA)
    - Excipient Allergy
  • Dr Kathleen Sullivan (USA) 
    - COVID-19 and Syndromes in Children, Rubella Associated Granuloma
  • A/Prof Bernard Thong (Singapore) 
    - COVID-19 Vaccine Immediate Reactions
  • A/Prof Paul Turner (UK) 
    - Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy, COVID-19 Vaccine Delayed Reactions COVID-19 in 2021 and Beyond, Food Allergy Prevention in 2021 and Beyond
  • A/Prof Carina Venter (USA)
    - Food Allergy and Diet, Maternal Diet and Food Allergy Prevention in Children.

For more details about these speakers go to  

The ASCIA 2021 Conference program also features presentations by local keynote speakers, including:

  • Dr Katie Allen MP
    2021 Basten Oration: A Journey from Benchside to Bedside, and Population to Politics - Why would you do it?
  • Prof Anthony Kelleher
    - Long COVID
  • Prof Connie Katelaris AM
    - Climate Change and Allergy
  • Dr Jennifer Koplin
    – Food Allergy Prevention - EarlyNuts Study Results
  • A/Prof Philip Robinson
    - Autoimmunity and COVID-19
  • Dr Charlotte Slade
    - Primary Immunodeficiency in the Adult and Elderly Population
  • Prof Mimi Tang
    - Food Allergy Treatment - Peanut Allergy OIT Trial Results
  • Prof Stuart Tangye
    - Immunodeficiency and COVID-19
  • Prof Carola Vinuesa
    - Neuritin to Prevent Autoimmune Disease and Allergies

ASCIA works in collaboration with other medical specialists and organisations, and this is reflected in the ASCIA 2021 Conference program, which includes the following sessions:

  • ASCIA-CFAR (Centre for Food and Allergy Research) Symposium on Wednesday.
  • ASCIA-ANZVASC (Australia and New Zealand Vasculitis Society) Symposium on Friday.
  • ASCIA Immunodeficiency Strategy for Australia and New Zealand Update on Friday.
  • National Allergy Strategy Update on Friday.

We greatly appreciate the support from the ASCIA 2021 Conference sponsors and exhibitors. There will be sponsored sessions each morning and on Wednesday evening, and a 3D virtual exhibition each day.

To view options for support go to

With an outstanding program and innovative virtual format, we expect that the ASCIA 2021 Conference will provide an international standard of education and networking opportunities for ASCIA members and other health professionals with an interest in allergy and clinical immunology.

We look forward to your involvement in the ASCIA 2021 Conference.

Kind regards,

Prof Michaela Lucas     Jill Smith
ASCIA President     ASCIA CEO

On behalf of the ASCIA 2021 Conference committee:

ASCIA Directors: 
Dr Theresa Cole (VIC), A/Prof Jane Peake (QLD), Dr Michael O'Sullivan (WA).

ASCIA Committee Chairs: 
Dr Karl Baumgart (NSW), Dr Lara Ford (NSW), Dr Katie Frith (NSW), Prof Connie Katelaris AM (NSW), Dr Kathryn Patchett (NSW),

ASCIA Associate Representatives: 
Kathy Beck (QLD), Dr Kathryn Heyworth (QLD), Dr Hannah Hu (NSW), Briony Tyquin (NSW).

Other members: 
Dr Tiffany Hughes (SA), Dr Preeti Joshi (NSW), Dr Dean Tey (VIC), Dr Brynn Wainstein (NSW), Dr Melanie Wong (NSW).

Thursday evening dinner meetings (restrictions permitting) will be coordinated by the ASCIA Council Area Representatives for each region: 
Dr Andrew Baker (NZ), Dr Elizabeth da Silva (ACT), Dr Narinder Kaur (NSW), Dr Jovanka King (SA), Dr Alberto Pinzon (QLD), Dr Stephanie Richards (VIC), A/Prof Kristina Rueter (WA).

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Immunoglobulin (Ig) Program Update

The latest immunoglobulin (Ig) Program Update is now available on the National Blood Authority (NBA) website

Ig Program Updates provide a snapshot of the NBA's current work program and priorities in the immunoglobulin space.

Current topics include:

  • Release of new educational and training resources.
  • Updates to BloodSTAR.
  • Updated data on Ig usage.
  • Commencement of an Ig Program evaluation review.
  • Ig health technology assessment (HTA) reviews by the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC).
  • Work on the Ig prioritisation framework.
  • Reports on Ig committee and stakeholder meetings.

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New Animation - How to Position a Person having Anaphylaxis

The ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis includes the following infographics that show the correct and incorrect positioning of a person having anaphylaxis.

When a person has anaphylaxis their blood pressure can drop rapidly, which reduces blood flow to the heart. Laying the person flat will help blood flow to the heart which improves blood pressure, whilst standing can make anaphylaxis worse by causing blood pressure to drop.

A new animation has been developed as part of the National Allergy Strategy, which explains:

  • How to position a person having anaphylaxis, including when giving the adrenaline (epinephrine) injector.
  • Why it is important that a person having anaphylaxis does not stand or walk.

The animation is available at

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New ASCIA Oral Immunotherapy for Food Allergy information

Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is a potential treatment for food allergy. There are currently several clinical research trials of food allergy OIT and other treatments for food allergy underway in Australia and other countries. At present there is no evidence that OIT it is a cure for food allergy and there are no food allergy OIT products approved or registered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia or by Medsafe in New Zealand.

ASCIA has updated its information about Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) for Food Allergy and the following new information is available on the ASCIA website:

  1. New ASCIA OIT for Food Allergy Position Paper for health professionals
  2. New ASCIA OIT for Food Allergy frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for patients, consumers and carers

Whilst both of these documents are new, the Position Paper has been adapted from the previous document that was for patients, consumers and carers, but expanded and updated to provide more detailed information for health professionals. The FAQ is a summary of the most common questions about food allergy OIT.


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Updated ASCIA COVID-19 resources

The ASCIA COVID-19 FAQ, Position Statement and Guides have been updated to reference the following summary of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) statement, issued on 8 April 2021 about AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine safety concerns:

  • ATAGI notes further evidence of a rare but serious side effect involving thrombosis (clotting) with thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count) following receipt of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
  • ATAGI recommends that the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine by is preferred over the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in adults aged under 50 years. This recommendation is based on the increasing risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 in older adults (and hence a higher benefit from vaccination) and a potentially increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia following the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in people aged under 50 years.
  • The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can be used in adults aged under 50 years where the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for that individual, and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits.
  • People who have had the first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine without any serious adverse effects can be given the second dose, including adults under 50 years.

Further information from ATAGI is available at

The updated ASCIA COVID-19 resources are avaialble as follows:

ASCIA Allergy, Immunodeficiency, Autoimmunity and COVID-19 Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

ASCIA Allergy, Immunodeficiency, Autoimmunity and COVID-19 Vaccination Position Statement

ASCIA Guide: Immunodeficiency, Autoimmunity and COVID-19 Vaccination

ASCIA Guide: Allergy and COVID-19 Vaccination

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New Animation - How to Safely Remove Ticks

A new animation showing how to safely remove ticks by freezing, not squeezing, is now available on the ASCIA website  

To prevent allergic reactions to ticks it is important that ticks are NOT forcibly removed or touched. Disturbing a tick may cause more allergen-containing saliva to be injected by the tick. 

Allergic reactions to ticks range from mild, with swelling and inflammation (at the site of a tick bite), to severe (anaphylaxis). Published studies show that the safest way to remove a tick is to:

  • Freeze the tick, using a product that rapidly freezes and kills the tick, and allow it to drop off; OR
  • Leave the tick in place and seek medical assistance to remove the tick.

Development of this animation was funded by the National Allergy Strategy (NAS) and is a collaboration between the National Allergy Strategy, ASCIA, Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) and TiARA.  

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PBS listings of Dupixent (dupilumab) for uncontrolled severe asthma (1st April 2021) and severe atopic dermatitis (1st March 2021)

Dupixent (dupilumab) is now listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in Australia for the treatment of patients aged 12 years and older with:

  • Uncontrolled severe asthma from 1st April 2021; and
  • Severe atopic dermatitis who have failed to respond to optimally prescribed topical treatments from 1st March 2021.

Dupixent is a fully human monoclonal antibody that inhibits the signaling of the interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-13 (IL-13) pathways. IL-4 and IL-13 are key and central drivers of type 2 inflammation that plays a central role in allergic and eosinophilic asthma, as well as atopic dermatitis. Dupixent is not an immunosuppressant.

Dupixent is jointly developed by Sanofi and Regeneron under a global collaboration agreement.

Full Product Information is available from Sanofi-Aventis Australia Pty Ltd at or by contacting 1800 818 806.

Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) is available at

Further information is available here:

pdfConsumer Media Release Dupixent Asthma PBS Listing152.05 KB

pdfMedical Media Release Dupixent Asthma PBS Listing149.21 KB

pdfDupixent® PBS listed for severe atopic dermatitis145.4 KB

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Virtual Meetings about COVID-19 Vaccines

The following two online events are being hosted by the peak professional bodies for allergy and immunology in Australia, New Zealand and Asia and registration is free.  

ASI-ASCIA COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Online Fireside Chat on Wednesday 31st March 2021, 6.30-7.30pm AEST with Dr Paul Turner, who leads the COVID-19 vaccine allergy surveillance unit in the UK and Prof Michaela Lucas, who is a clinician-scientist and ASCIA President. Register here 

APAAACI COVID-19: Allergies and Vaccines, Understanding the Facts and Myths on Monday 12th April 2021, 7-8pm (GMT+8, Singapore Standard Time). Register here

APAAACI COVID 19 Allergies and Vaccines Understanding the Facts and Myths

In the meantime information is available in the ASCIA ASCIA Allergy, Immunodeficiency, Autoimmunity and COVID-19 Vaccination FAQ which includes the following key statements:

  • Vaccination is an important way to reduce the risk of developing infectious diseases which can easily spread. This includes COVID-19, which is caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Immunity occurs after the vaccine stimulates a person’s immune system to make antibodies (immunoglobulins) to help protect the body from future infections. This means that if a person is vaccinated, they will be less likely to get COVID-19. Even if a person does get infected, it is likely to be a milder illness.
  • Public health measures and restrictions that were implemented by the Australian and New Zealand governments since March 2020 have been successful in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in our countries. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a major cause of illness and deaths in other countries. This means that vaccination programs are required throughout the world, including Australia and New Zealand.  
  • COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia and New Zealand are not live-attenuated vaccines and are safe for people with immune system disorders, including allergy, immunodeficiency or autoimmune conditions.
  • Allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines are rare. However, if there is a high risk of an allergic reaction to one of the vaccines, it may be possible to have another vaccine, subject to availability and medical advice.


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