Allergy-free egg in the making

Melbourne: There is good news for people suffering from egg-allergy. Australian scientists are working on a novel idea of developing allergy-free eggs for eating and to be used in vaccines.

Four of the forty proteins in egg whites are allergenic. But the researchers are working towards switching off the allergens in all four, creating a hypoallergenic egg that can
produce chickens which lay allergy-free eggs, ABC reported.

Cenk Suphioglu of Deakin`s School of Life and Environmental Sciences said it is a completely novel approach to the problem, but maintained that they were not producing
genetically-modified chickens as part of this research.

"We are simply modifying the proteins within the egg whites to produce chickens which lay allergy-free eggs," he said.

"Previous egg allergy research has cloned the egg white allergen genes, but no-one has gone as far as to make the proteins non-allergenic," he said.

The research is a joint venture between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Deakin University, and is being led by the CSIRO`s scientist Tim Doran, who himself has an allergic child.

Doran said the research has the potential to help thousands of families who have to monitor the exposure to eggs.

"The effect of this type of allergy on the whole family is immense," he said.

"In many cases all food has to be prepared in the home as you can`t guarantee that food purchased outside the home won`t have traces of egg white. We recently did a long-haul flight with the family and had to prepare all meals to take on the plane.