New PEG allergens for basophil activation assays
Alpha Laboratories has introduced new polyethylene glycol (PEG) allergens from BÜHLMANN to the UK. These are for use with the FlowCAST basophil activation assay, providing a safer approach to determine those with a hypersensitivity reaction to PEG.
Allergy to PEG is rare but can be severe. It is suspected to be the primary cause of allergic reactions in those individuals who have reacted adversely to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. PEG is used as a stabiliser of lipid nanoparticles in the formulation of mRNA-based vaccines, thus allergy to it is increasingly being recognised.
Basophil activation testing (BAT) has been validated to support and investigate PEG hypersensitivity reactions. BAT is performed on whole blood samples and offers a much safer, non-invasive alternative to allergy testing, compared with traditional in vivo allergy tests, such as a skin prick test
Polyethylene glycols at different molecular weights may result in different reactivity of patient basophils, so BÜHLMANN has produced several PEG allergens to maximise the chance of detecting an allergic response in a patient:
- PEG 4000 - Linear PEG of molecular weight in the range of 3500-4500
- PEG 2000 - Linear PEG of molecular weight in the range of 1900-2200
- DMG PEG 2000 - Lipid component with a PEG 2000 chain.