International Team of Scientists Discover Link Between Genes and Penicillin Allergy Using Biobanks From Estonia, UK and USA

International team of scientists discover link between genes and penicillin allergy using biobanks from Estonia, UK and USA

Penicillin, a life-saving medicine, is the most common cause of drug allergy, with clinical manifestations ranging from temporary skin reactions to life-threatening systemic syndromes. Thus far, genetic factors have only been found for rare severe allergic reactions to penicillin. However, less is known about the genetics behind milder forms of penicillin hypersensitivity reactions that occur in a larger proportion of the population. A collaborative effort involving scientists from the Estonian Genome Center, University of Tartu, Statens Serum Institut, University of Oxford, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and 23andMe sought to identify genetic risk factors underlying penicillin-induced hypersensitivity reactions by harnessing self-reported data and the electronic health recovers of over 600,000 participants of European ancestry from the UK Biobank, Estonian Biobank and Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s biobank (BioVU).

The Finding

The genome-wide association study (GWAS) of self-reported penicillin allergy in the different biobanks revealed a locus located in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) I ...

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