Omalizumab (Xolair, Genentech) may assist in preventing virus-induced asthma exacerbations, according to a study presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology being held this week in Los Angeles. 

The Preventative Omalizumab or Step-up Therapy for Severe Fall Exacerbations (PROSE) study randomized 478 asthmatic children, aged 6 to 17, from low-income census tracts to receive either guidelines-based asthma care, fluticasone boost or add-on omalizumab. The researchers used cold symptom scoring sheets weekly over the four-month treatment period during the fall seasons of 2012 or 2013.

Rates of colds in participants treated with add-on omalizumab were decreased (0.15/sample) compared to participants who only received guidelines-based asthma care (0.20/sample), a difference of 27%. Fluticasone boosts (0.17) had no significant effect on cold rates.

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“Rates of colds per sample were significantly reduced in the omalizumab group, and this effect was seen across asthma treatment steps with the same rate of reduction observed in children with moderate and severe persistent asthma,” James Gern, MD, with University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health said in a press release.


1. Gern J, et al. Abstract 286. Presented at: the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting. March 4-7, 2016; Los Angeles.