It’s long thought that getting a bit dirty may be good for boosting immunity but scientists believe they can now identify several types of ‘dirty’ bacteria that seem to reduce the chances of developing asthma – potentially paving the way for a new vaccine, reports the Daily Mail.
Knowing which bugs might help the immune system prevent asthma from developing raises the possibility of creating preventive treatments, like a vaccine. If it’s successful, it could prevent 1.1 million children in the UK from getting asthma.
“We have a long way to go before we can present new preventive measures, but at least we now have candidates for the development of a vaccine,” said study leader Dr Markus Ege, from the University of Munich.
Research focused on a group of Bavarian schoolchildren, comparing those living on farms with others from rural districts who didn’t.
It was found the farm children had to cope with a wider range of microbes and it’s thought because of this they had the lowest cases of asthma. This could be because the microbes kick start the immune system into action, preventing it from entering a state that promotes the development of asthma.
Worried about asthma? Read our guide to childhood asthma.