Recent studies have discovered that penicillin allergies may be linked to one gene in the immune system. The genetic link of this hypersensitivity can be found on an immune system gene that helps the body distinguish healthy cells and harmful bacteria and viruses. According to pharmacogenomics researcher Kristi Krebs, a hot spot for this gene is the HLA-B gene (ScienceNews, 2020). Several studies linked differences in HLA genes to bad reactions to specific drugs. For instance, studies have linked an HLA-B variant to adverse reactions to an HIV/AIDS medication called abacavir, and an HLA-B variant was linked to allergic reactions in gout medicine called allopurinol (ScienceNews, 2020). It is therefore suggested these HLA variants can predispose individuals to higher risk of allergic drug reactions, even in penicillin. A linkage of this gene was found on the locus of chromosome 6 on a variant called HLA-B*55:01 (ScienceNews, 2020). More research must be conducted in the future to better understand and predict penicillin allergies.
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