Soon, a jab to treat hay fever

London: Scientists are developing a new and cheaper vaccine for hay fever which they say would bring swift and lasting relief to the sufferers.

The `exciting` vaccine, which is in development, could help control symptoms of grass pollen hay fever with injections over the course of a few months, scientists claim.

The prototype vaccine is also designed to tackle grass pollen hay fever, also known as summer hay fever, `The Telegraph` reported.

The jab uses the same basic science as an existing vaccine which requires a course of injections lasting several years and benefits only around 1,000 people a year.

However, the new vaccine has potential to be far cheaper and convenient after immunologists worked out that injecting closer to the skin`s surface was far more effective than the current method.

"This new vaccine is potentially applicable to far larger numbers than the existing one," said Dr Stephen Till, from King`s College London.

Up to one in eight people experience moderate or severe hay fever symptoms, but the number who benefit from vaccination is "just a drop in the ocean," Till said.

The jabs contain a substance that causes the reaction, the allergen, which is injected to encourage immune cells to recognise it as something that is harmless and does not need to be attacked.

Doses are gradually built up as the immune system develops recognition.

The new vaccine uses doses that are 1,000 times lower because it is injected where there are more immune cells.

This means that far less gets lost in fat and other cells that have no immune system role.

The current therapy costs about 500 pounds a year for a course of injections, or 1,000 pounds for a course of anti-allergy pills or drops.

Scientists say the new treatment will be far cheaper.