How Can Hypoallergenic Grass Help Hayfever Sufferers
For hay fever sufferers, the lush grass that surrounds them can look anything but inviting. Instead, these allergenic grasses can seem like a warm weather enemy as they trigger painful hay fever symptoms from what should be enjoyable, sunny days outside. For many hay fever sufferers, they have tried numerous over-the-counter or prescription treatments that have not been successful and they are constantly waiting for new, more effective treatments to emerge. One potential 'treatment' that has shown promise is hypoallergenic grass.
Modifying Grass to Reduce AllergiesA new type of grass seed has been genetically modified to omit two of the common hay fever allergens. The aim is twofold: to improve the public's perception regarding genetically modified products and to dramatically improve hay fever symptoms for sufferers. In the United States, a common trigger of hay fever symptoms is ragweed. In Europe, however, ryegrass is a key culprit.
The hypoallergenic grasses are genetically modified perennial and Italian ryegrasses. Ryegrass is very allergenic, mostly due to the pollen proteins and broad distribution. People susceptible to allergies from ryegrass also tend to be allergic to other forms of grass as well. With genetic modification, scientists have not exactly turned off the expression of the genes fully, which means there is still some level of allergens. At present, they have managed to successfully reduce pollen proteins by fifty percent. There is, however, the chance to completely remove the offending allergen, which means turning off the offending genes.
Unfortunately, it will still be many years before these hypoallergenic grasses are available to the market. Field trials are still ongoing and there are various issues to resolve before hypoallergenic grass becomes a practical reality for hay fever sufferers. Still, there is hope that even a fifty percent reduction can make a major difference in symptoms. In particular, a complete removal of the allergenic genes would be exciting news for hay fever sufferers - more so if the grass is widely used to allow for less hay fever discomfort.