A consensus protocol for the Basophil Activation Test for multicenter collaboration and External Quality AssuranceAuthors: Pascal, M# 1, Edelman SM#2, Nopp, A#3, Möbs, C4, Geilenkeuser, WJ5, Knol, EF6, Ebo, DG7, Mertens C7, Shamji, MH8, Santos, AF9,10, Patil, S11, Eberlein, B*12, Mayorga, C*13, Hoffmann HJ14*Affiliations1 Immunology Department, Centre de Diagnòstic Biomèdic, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.2 Skin and Allergy Hospital, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland, present address Aimmune Therapeutics, Finland3 Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Södersjukhuset, and Sachs´ Children and Youth Hospital, Södersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden4 Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Marburg, Germany5 Reference Institute for Bioanalytics, Bonn, Germany6 Center of Translational Immunology and Dermatology/Allergology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.7 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Immunology-Allergology- Rheumatology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium8 National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, UK and NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre, UK9 Department of Women and Children’s Health (Pediatric Allergy) & Peter Gorer Department of Immunobiology, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom10 Children’s Allergy Service, Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London, United Kingdom11 Division of Allergy and Immunology, Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States12 Department of Dermatology and Allergy Biederstein, School of Medicine, Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany13 Allergy Clinical Unit, Hospital Regional Universitario de Málaga and Allergy Research Group, Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Málaga-IBIMA-BIONAND, Malaga, Spain;14 Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Department of Respiratory Diseases and Allergy, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark# shared first authors, * shared senior authorsCOIM Pascal, SM Edelman, A Nopp, C Möbs, EF Knol, SU Patil and C Mayorga have no conflict of interest regarding this work. B Eberlein received methodological and technical support from the company BUEHLMANN Laboratories AG (Schönenbuch, Switzerland) outside the submitted work. Dr Hoffmann reports grant from the Innovation Fund of Denmark, outside the submitted work. Dr Shamji reports grants awarded to institution from the Immune Tolerance Network, UK Medical Research Council, Allergy Therapeuitics, LETI Laboratories, Revolo biotherapeutics and Angany Inc. He has received consulting fees from Bristol Meyers Squibb and lecture fees from Allergy Therapeutics and LETI laboratories, all outside the submitted work. Dr. Santos reports grants from Medical Research Council (MR/M008517/1; MC/PC/18052; MR/T032081/1), Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), the NIH, Asthma UK (AUK-BC-2015-01), the Immune Tolerance Network/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID, NIH) and the NIHR through the Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) award to Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, during the conduct of the study; speaker or consultancy fees from Thermo Scientific, Nutricia, Infomed, Novartis, Allergy Therapeutics, IgGenix, Stallergenes, Buhlmann, as well as research support from Buhlmann and Thermo Fisher Scientific through a collaboration agreement with King’s College London, outside the submitted work. Dr Geilenkeuser is an employee of Referenizinstitut für Bioanalytik, DE that provided logistic assistance and reagent support for the study.To the editorThe basophil activation test (BAT) has significant potential as a diagnostic tool to better phenotype and manage patients with IgE-mediated allergies, so that only a small proportion of patients need to be challenged. Sample, reagent, laboratory procedure, analysis protocols, and population characteristics can influence BAT performance (1,2). Regulatory approval and clinical implementation require extensive standardization of laboratory protocols, cytometer settings, and results interpretation (3). European national authorities require External Quality Assurance (EQA) of the performance of modern diagnostic laboratories by agencies independent of test suppliers to meet ISO 15189:2012, 15189:2013 and 9001:2015.Based on an online survey among 59 responding European laboratories performing BAT in 2017 (4,5) (Online Supplement; Results of the online survey), a Task Force was launched in 2018 to create the basis for a BAT-EQA. Round Robins (RR) were organized with seven shipments of 2 donors each to 7-10 European centers with overnight courier service from Bonn, DE. To minimize variation, prior to shipment, blood basophils were activated with 1 ul FcεRI antibody/ml of blood and stabilized with 0.2 mL Transfix (Cytomark, UK) per mL of blood to stabilize activated basophils up to 48 hours for staining (6). Fresh blood was included for stimulation and staining at the participating laboratory sites.We met after the third shipment to reach consensus on a protocol for BAT (Online Supplement; Proposed SOP for in house BAT). The threshold set on an unstimulated control sample was determined empirically on an independent data set as equal or greater than 2.5% with ROC curves based on data from patients with hypersensitivity to amoxicillin and patients with peanut allergy, (Online supplement, tables S1 and S2). This proposal did not find universal consensus among the authors.Data analysis started with identification of the relevant region in a scatter plot, followed by identification of basophils with the relevant markers, for instance, using low SSC and CD193 only or CD193 and CD123. Finally, the threshold was set at 2.5% of CD63 expression on resting basophils (Figure 1A). >5% CD63+basophils above that threshold in an activated sample was considered a positive response. This setting was used to obtain the percentage of CD63+ cells in centrally preactivated and locally activated blood samples; however, it was not adopted in all labs. Data from participating labs analyzed with their proprietary and the above standardized analysis compared well (online supplement, figure S4).The first two RR were used to establish coherence between participating laboratories. Data from RR3–RR7 were comparable. The standard deviation of activation measured at all participating centers was 16.8% in preactivated blood (Figure 1B) compared with 49.2% for samples activated and analyzed locally, illustrating the utility of using preactivated blood for EQA. Shipment to Málaga took 48h, and local activation of blood basophils was consistently suboptimal, consistent with a preliminary round robin from 2012, where the clinical outcome was robust up to 24 h. Centrally activated basophils performed as well in Málaga as in other centers.EQA for BAT is critical to facilitate routine implementation of this assay in the field of in vitro allergy diagnostics. The variability of the responses to our survey highlighted the importance and need for multicenter validation. Full validation and standardization of the BAT protocol and analysis is essential and possible for setting the grounds for controlled multicenter research studies as well as EQA. The BAT-EQA Task Force provides a standard operating protocol (Online supplement; Proposed SOP for in house BAT) and reference materials for the test to standardize and enhance the accuracy of BAT for both clinical and research collaborations and EQA.
Immune modulation is a key therapeutic tool for allergic diseases and asthma. It can be achieved in an antigen-specific way via allergen immunotherapy (AIT) or in endotype-driven approach using biologicals that target the major pathways of the type 2 (T2) immune response: IgE, IL-5 and IL-4/IL-13. COVID-19 vaccine provides an excellent opportunity to tackle the global pandemics and is currently being applied in an accelerated rhythm worldwide. It works as well through immune modulation. Thus, as there is an obvious interference between these treatment modalities recommendations on how they should be applied in sequence are expected. The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) gathered an outstanding expert panel under its Research and Outreach Committee (ROC). This expert panel was called to evaluate the evidence and formulate recommendation on the administration of COVID-19 vaccine in patients with allergic diseases and asthma receiving AIT or biologicals. The panel also formulated recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine in association with biologicals targeting the type 1 or type 3 immune response. In formulating recommendations, the panel evaluated the mechanisms of COVID-19 infection, of COVID-19 vaccine, of AIT and of biologicals and considered the data published for other anti-infectious vaccines administered concurrently with AIT or biologicals.
Advances in molecular biology alongside the accelerated development of gene and cell engineering have contributed to the development of several endotype-targeted biological therapies against chronic immune-mediated allergic diseases. Conventional therapies for asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis with polyposis (CRSwNP), chronic spontaneous urticaria and atopic dermatitis (AD) are not without limitations, and as such the advent of biological therapies have provided a promising alternative treatment option. Biologicals have proven efficacious in the treatment of refractory chronic spontaneous urticaria, asthma, AD, CRSwNP and there is increasing evidence for their utility in treating food allergy. Biologicals are applied and investigated for the most urgent need: acute treatment, symptom control and reduction of steroid usage. Currently there are five approved biologicals for allergic disease management, targeted against IgE (omalizumab), type 2 (T2) cytokines and cytokine receptors (IL-4Ra; dupilumab, IL-5; mepolizumab/reslizumab, IL-5Ra; benralizumab).
Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated allergy is the most common hypersensitivity disease affecting more than 30% of the population. In genetically-predisposed subjects exposure to minute quantities of allergens leads to the production of IgE antibodies which is termed allergic sensitization and mainly occurs in early childhood. Allergen-specific IgE then binds to the high (FcRI) and low affinity receptors (FcRII, also called CD23) for IgE on effector cells and antigen-presenting cells, respectively. Subsequent and repeated allergen exposure increases allergen-specific IgE levels and, by receptor cross-linking, triggers immediate release of inflammatory mediators from mast cells and basophils whereas IgE-facilitated allergen presentation perpetuates T cell-mediated allergic inflammation. Due to engagement of receptors which are highly selective for IgE even tiny amounts of allergens can induce massive inflammation. Naturally occurring allergen-specific IgG and IgA antibodies usually recognize different epitopes on allergens compared to IgE, and do not efficiently interfere with allergen-induced inflammation. However IgG and IgA antibodies to these important IgE epitopes can be induced by allergen-specific immunotherapy or by passive immunization. These will lead to competition with IgE for binding with the allergen and prevent allergic responses. Similarly, anti-IgE treatment does the same by preventing IgE from binding to its receptor on mastcells and basophils. Here we review the complex interplay of allergen-specific IgE, IgG and IgA and the corresponding cell receptors in allergic diseases and its relevance for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of allergy.
Vaccines are essential public health tools with a favorable safety profile and prophylactic effectiveness that have historically played significant roles in reducing infectious disease burden in populations, when the majority of individuals are vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines are expected to have similar positive impacts on health across the globe. While serious allergic reactions to vaccines are rare, their underlying mechanisms and implications for clinical management should be considered to provide individuals with the safest care possible. In this review, we provide an overview of different types of allergic adverse reactions that can potentially occur after vaccination and individual vaccine components capable of causing the allergic adverse reactions. We present the incidence of allergic adverse reactions during clinical studies and through post-authorization and post-marketing surveillance and provide plausible causes of these reactions based on potential allergenic components present in several common vaccines. Additionally, we review implications for individual diagnosis and management and vaccine manufacturing overall. Finally, we suggest areas for future research.
Food allergy is an increasingly common disease worldwide, and is thought to be driven by an uncontrolled type 2 immune response. Current knowledge about the underlying mechanisms that initiate and promote an inappropriate immune response to dietary allergens is limited. Sensitization through the skin in early life is considered to be a key event. Food allergy results from a dysregulated type 2 response to food allergens, characterized by enhanced levels of IgE, IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 with infiltration of mast cells, eosinophils and basophils during acute reactions. Recent data implies a possible role of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) in driving food allergy. ILCs represent a group of lymphocytes that lack specific, recombined antigen receptors. They contribute to immune responses not only through the release of cytokines and other mediators, but also by responding to cytokines produced by activated cells in their local microenvironment. Due to their localization at barrier surfaces of the airways, gut and skin, ILCs form a link between the innate and adaptive immunity. This review summarizes recent evidences on how skin and gastrointestinal mucosal immune system contribute to both homeostasis and the development of food allergy, as well as the involvement of ILCs towards inflammatory processes and regulatory mechanisms.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine BNT162b2 received approval and within the first few days of public vaccination several severe anaphylaxis cases occurred. An investigation is taking place to understand the cases and their triggers. The vaccine will be administered to a large number of individuals worldwide and concerns raised for severe adverse events might occur. With the current information, the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) states its position for the following preliminary recommendations that are to be revised as soon as more data emerges. To minimize the risk of severe allergic reactions in vaccinated individuals, it is urgently required to understand the specific nature of the reported severe allergic reactions, including the background medical history of the individuals affected and the mechanisms involved. To achieve this goal all clinical and laboratory information should be collected and reported. Mild and moderate allergic patients should not be excluded from the vaccine as the exclusion of all these patients from vaccination may have a significant impact on reaching the goal of population immunity. Health care practitioners vaccinating against COVID-19 are required to be sufficiently prepared to recognise and treat anaphylaxis properly with the ability to administer adrenaline. A mandatory observation period after vaccine administration of at least 15 minutes for all individuals should be followed. The current guidelines, which exclude patients with severe allergies from vaccination with BNT162b2, should be re-evaluated after more information and experience with the new vaccine develops.