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Insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH) is a common allergic skin disease of horses caused by biting midges, specifically the genus Culicoides. The substances causing the allergy, called allergens, are proteins present in the midges’ saliva. In a previous Foundation-funded study, the researchers identified and then produced many important Culicoides allergens implicated in IBH. The team proposes to use these proteins to develop a preventive allergen-specific immunotherapy as well as improved treatment for IBH-affected horses. Icelandic horses will be used as the study model, as IBH occurs with a high frequency (50%) in this breed when exported to Europe or the United States. Findings should have a broad application to all horse breeds, and even other species, stricken with allergic conditions.

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University of Bern
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Eliane Marti,
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