GA2LEN - The Global Allergy and Asthma European Network

Frew, Anthony J (2005) GA2LEN - The Global Allergy and Asthma European Network. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 35 (2). pp. 122-125. ISSN 0954-7894

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The European Community's Network on Allergies and Asthma was launched officially on 12 February 2004 in the presence of the European Commissioner Phillipe Bousquin. The current round of European Union funding for research includes two major new types of funding vehicle: integrated projects and networks of excellence. GA2LEN represents one of the first networks of excellence to be put into play by the European Commission, and Commissioner Bousquin was careful to point out that as well as addressing a major public health problem in Europe, the new network should serve as a standard bearer for this new form of European funding and research co-operation. So, what lies beyond the political rhetoric? Why do we need a European Network at this time and what does it hope to achieve during the 5 years of its life?

Everyone agrees that allergic diseases such as asthma, allergic rhinitis (AR) and eczema have all increased over the last 30–40 years [1]. The European country with the highest prevalence of allergic disease is the UK where up to 32% of 13–14-year-olds report symptoms of asthma. While the prevalence rates vary between different European countries, the general upward trend is universal, making this a concern for all Europeans. Despite recent evidence that there has been a levelling off of the rate of asthma and related conditions in the UK [2], there remain worries that the prevalence rates could start to rise again in the UK and of course other countries have no wish to emulate the rates of asthma and allergic disease that are seen in the UK. Asthma is a major factor in children losing days from school, with potential consequences for their level of educational achievement while in adults asthma is an important cause of absence from the workplace. Besides the personal inconvenience, this represents a significant loss of productivity, and some estimates are as high as 9 billion working days lost because of asthma each year in the European Union. Asthma has direct medical costs in the form of medication and hospital care, with about 5% of the European medication budget currently being spent on caring for asthma. AR and eczema may not cause so many admissions to hospital as asthma but they also consume considerable amounts of healthcare resources in the form of medication.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Primary Care and Public Health
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2012 10:04
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2012 09:10
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