KKR ENT Hospital, Chennai, has designed a new machine, the 'Radio Allergo Sorbent Test' (RAST), to help physicians track down the source allergen.
An allergy is the body's effort to reject any substance, which it perceives as unsuitable. Hay fever, migraine, asthma, allergic rhinitis, digestive disturbances, eczema and sinusitis are some of the common allergic responses.
At a press conference, Dr. Ravi Ramalingam, a consultant at KKR ENT Hospital told reporters in Chennai, 'some allergies can seriously affect a victim's quality of life and lead to significant loss of work attendance or schooldays.' The winter months represent a phase when some allergies run riot, he added.
The KKR ENT, has launched an allergy clinic with the new testing facility. The new 'Radio Allergo Sorbent Test' (RAST) machine, tracks down the source allergen by mapping the results of a simple blood test.
The equipment will then match the blood sample against lists of common allergens. The value against a specific allergen indicates a person's sensitivity to the substance.
RAST has currently cataloged four panels, each with a list of 20 allergens. The only handicap now is that not all the sources listed on a panel are relevant to Indian conditions. Dr. Ravi proposes to develop tests suitable to other conditions.
According to Dr. Ravi, the golden rule of identifying the allergen, avoiding exposure to triggers, using drugs to control reactions, and taking injections to improve tolerance still hold good today, as they have done for decades.
In the U.S. it is found that one out of every five persons has some allergy, while no such data is on record in the Indian population.