Extracts containing purified insect venom now are available for diagnosing and providing immunotherapy to persons who experience severe systemic allergic reactions to the stings of bees, wasps, and hornets.
The Food and Drug Administration announced at the recent meeting of the American Academy of Allergy in New Orleans that it had granted Pharmacia Aktiebolaget, Uppsala, Sweden, a license to manufacture the allergenic extracts. Hollister-Stier Laboratories, Spokane, Wash, also has applied to the FDA's Bureau of Biologics for license authority to produce the purified venoms.
Other immunotherapy preparations, extracted after grinding up the entire insect, have been in use since the 1930s, but some questions have been raised about them in recent years (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS] 239:1274-1278 and 239:1843, 1978). The extracts that have just become available are produced from contents of the venom or venom sac, not the entire insect.
The new kits offer six freeze-dried Hymenoptera preparations: honey bee