Farm field and barn CC David Joyce

The secret to an effective allergy and asthma vaccine may be down on the farm, swirling in the dust that farmers kick up while plowing and planting.

Scientists have long known that people who grew up on farms tend to have far fewer issues with allergies and asthma than people who didn’t.

Researchers at Ghent University in Belgium set out to discover why.asthma-CC- Kathryn Doran-thumbs-up

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They found that when a person breathes in farm dust, their body produces a protein called A20. The researchers wrote that the protein “makes the mucous membrane inside the respiratory tracts react less severely to allergens such as house dust mite.”

The scientists discovered that if they deactivated the protein in mice, the rodents weren’t able to fight off an allergic or asthmatic reaction.

The researchers also examined 2,000 people who grew up on farms, where exposure to farm dust would have produced A20 in their bodies. Most didn’t suffer from asthma or allergies, but those who did showed deficiencies of the protein.peanuts in shell-Cohdra Morguefile

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The scientists say their discoveries will still require years of research, but put them on the “right track” toward isolating the chemical in farm dust the triggers the protein and turning it into a workable vaccine against allergies and asthma.

The study was published in the journal Science.

(READ more at CTV News) — Photo by David Joyce, CC

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