Parliament’s rapporteur for FP7 wants more focus on allergic diseases. Allergies have negative effects on quality of life and lead to weaker school performance and lower productivity at work.
The Parliament rapporteur on the EUs 7th framework researchprogramme, FP7, Jerzy Buzek, backs the inclusion of allergic diseases under the general health thematic research in the future FP7. He is supported by health NGOs representing both doctors in allergology and patients suffering from asthma and allergies,
In the current Commission proposal for FP7, allergies figure only under the food thematic research.
Allergies result from complex interactions between genes and environment. Allergic diseases have dramatically increased since 50 years due to a number of different factors: increased exposure to allergens, pollutants, dietary changes, the way food is processed, housing architecture and water supply. Currently, nearly 1 in 3 children are allergic and 30-50% of them develop asthma.
“Allergies have a huge negative impact on health, quality of life, education and career achievement an thus present a major health economic burden for the EU,” said president of EAACI, Anthony Frew, at a debate organised by Jerzy Buzek on 28 March 2006. “Prevention, not only treatment, of allergic disease is very important in terms of research for patients,” explained EFA executive officer, Susanna Palkonen.
There are big difference in prevalence of allergies in Europe, the northern countries being ‘the most allergic’. The further south the country lies, the less people have allergies, which get even more rare towards the east. “However, allergy prevalence has started to increase in the east as well, propably due to lifestyle changes,” pointed out Petr Panzner from EAACI. Curiously, the United Kingdom stands out for having, by far, the most allergies in Europe.
Currently, GA²LEN, Global Allergy and Asthma European Network, an EU network of excellence under FP6, brings together European research excellence to develop new ways of preventing and managing allergies and asthma.