Penicillin happens to be one of the most common causes of
drug allergies. Researchers have now found a genetic link to the sensitivity.
According to the article, the HLA-B gene may be the area where there is genetic
variation that causes this allergy. Many studies have been done with the HLA
gene, which shows when individuals have a HLA variant they can have higher
allergic drug reactions. The researchers used genetic search tools and found a
specific spot on chromosome 6 on a variant called HLA-B*55:01. This cannot be
confirmed yet, since they checked the results against small databases and found
no similar connection. I believe this is a step in the right direction. I
personally know people with penicillin allergies, and if we can find the
genetic link, then in the future we can isolate it and change it so people can
use penicillin when they have bacterial infections. We are just at the
beginning of our journey with understanding and changing genes, so I believe
this is a good step, but much more can be done. Penicillin is a very useful
antibiotic so if we can find a way to make everyone able to use it, it may help
a lot of people.