Baby and dog
Mites can trigger allergies and breathing difficulties in people suffering from asthma. Dan/Flickr

Researchers at the University of Iowa have developed a vaccine that can combat dust-mite allergies by naturally switching the immune response.

In animal tests, the nano-sized vaccine package lowered lung inflammation by 83% despite repeated exposure to the allergens.

The paper was published in the AAPS (American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists) Journal.

Mites are tiny organisms that can trigger major allergy reactions in people. They are small and can be found everywhere, in carpets, mattresses, sofas, etc. Once they get under the skin, mites trigger allergies and breathing difficulties among 45% of those who suffer from asthma, according to some studies. Prolonged exposure can cause lung damage.

Treatment is limited to getting temporary relief from inhalers or undergoing regular exposure to build up tolerance, which is long term and holds no guarantee of success.

The vaccine package contains a booster that alters the body's inflammatory response to dust-mite allergens.

The vaccine treats mite allergy using miniscule particles administered with sequences of bacterial DNA that direct the immune system to suppress allergic immune responses. A booster further increases the potency of the vaccine. The immune cells absorb the booster and in the process, the vaccine.

Combining the antigen (the vaccine) and booster causes the body to change its immune response, producing antibodies that dampen the damaging health effects caused by the mites.