Deakin University in collaboration with CSIRO in Geelong and the Poultry Co-Operative Research Centre have come together to produce allergy-free eggs for use in food consumption and the production of common vaccines such as flu vaccines.

 

Deakin University is internationally recognised for its research into allergies and CSIRO is recognised for its expertise in macromolecule modification through RNA interference (RNAi) technology.

 

The two research organisations are bringing their respective expertise to a collaborative research project to produce allergy-free eggs, the first of its type for both organisations.

 

Adjunct Professor Tim Doran, Project Leader at CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory, himself the father of an anaphylactic child, said that the world-leading research had the potential to substantially improve the lifestyles of thousands of families who lived in fear of their children consuming egg whites and having an anaphylactic shock as a result.

 

"The effect of this type of allergy on the whole family is immense," he said, "because in many cases all food has to be prepared in the home as you can't guarantee that food purchased outside the home won't have traces of egg white."

 

"We recently did a long-haul flight with the family and had to prepare all meals to take on the plane," he said.

 

Of the 40 proteins in egg white, there are four major allergens and this research will systematically switch off the allergens in all four, creating a hypoallergenic egg that can produce chickens, which lay allergy-free eggs.

 

The research is expected to take three years to complete with the possibility that allergy-free vaccines could be available within five years and allergy-free eggs could be available in supermarkets for human consumption within five or 10 years.

 

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