New Research on Growing Issue of Red Meat Allergy


Kids With Food Allergies is sharing this press release from the 2018 AAAAI/WAO Joint Congress to bring you the latest research news quickly. Three studies were presented about Alpha Gal or Red Meat Allergy.


Data from University Allergy Clinic Shows Red Meat Allergy May Be a Growing Issue

A study presented at the 2018 AAAAI/WAO Joint Congress describes the rise in anaphylaxis caused by alpha-gal allergy in a university allergy clinic.

Orlando, FL – A study at the 2018 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) and World Allergy Organization (WAO) Joint Congress presented a snapshot from a private, university-affiliated allergy clinic with a large increase of anaphylaxis cases caused by alpha-gal, or red meat, allergy.

The dataset included 222 cases of anaphylaxis dating back to 1993 from the clinic. Forty percent of cases had a definitive trigger, 26% of cases had a probable trigger and the cause was unknown in 34% of the cases.

“Interestingly, among cases of anaphylaxis with a definitive cause, the most common trigger was a reaction to galactose-alpha-1, 3-galactose, better known as alpha-gal. That is the compound that patients with mammalian meat allergy react to after ingesting red meats like beef or pork,” said author Philip L. Lieberman, MD, FAAAAI.

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Researchers Find Certain Blood Types Protective Against Red Meat Allergy

Research presented at the 2018 AAAAI/WAO Joint Congress suggests that people with B or AB blood types may be less prone to alpha-gal, or red meat, allergy.

Orlando, FL - Red meat allergy is a recently recognized allergic reaction to the substance galactose-α-1, 3-galactose (alpha-gal). New research suggests that some blood types may have a protective effect against the allergy.

The abstract, “B Antigen Protects Against the Development of α-Gal-Mediated Red Meat Allergy,” presented at the 2018 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) and World Allergy Organization (WAO) Joint Congress concluded that people with blood type B or AB may be five times less likely to be diagnosed with red meat allergy.

“The molecular structure of alpha-gal is similar to that of the B antigen, a carbohydrate found on blood cells of people with B or AB blood types,” said author Jonathan R. Brestoff, MD, PhD, MPH. “We hypothesized that people who express the B antigen have immune systems that are trained to ignore alpha-gal because it looks like an innocuous self-antigen. If that is correct, then people who make the B antigen should be less likely to undergo allergic sensitization to alphagal and, subsequently, protected from developing red meat allergy.”

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Patients with Alpha-Gal Allergy May be Five Times More Likely to Be Allergic to Insects

Research being presented at the 2018 AAAAI/WAO Joint Congress demonstrates that patients with alpha-gal allergy are five times more likely to be allergic to other insects.

Orlando, FL - With tick population expanding, alpha-gal allergy, also known as red meat allergy or mammalian meat allergy, is becoming more prominent. Researchers know there is an association between tick bites and red meat allergy but have now found that patients with red meat allergy are also five times more likely to be allergic to stinging insects compared to patients without red meat allergy.

“We think that there are shared immunologic factors that make these patients more susceptible to insect allergy,” said author Maya R. Jerath, MD, PhD, FAAAAI.

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