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World Allergy Organization
WAO's mission: To be a global resource and advocate in the field of allergy, advancing excellence in clinical care through education, research and training as a world-wide alliance of allergy and clinical immunology societies.

World Allergy Organization (WAO)
Convenes Global Meeting on Sub-Lingual Immunotherapy

Delivery of immunotherapy by the sub-lingual (SLIT) route is an exciting therapeutic strategy, gradually being adopted throughout the world. It is, therefore, essential that the global allergy community establishes the facts about the use, the safety, and the limitations of this therapeutic modality, and speaks with one voice on this important issue.

WAO invited its 77 Regional, National and Affiliate Member Societies to participate in a meeting in Paris, 22-23 January 2009, to develop a consensus to be published as the first global Position Statement on SLIT. To enable WAO to capture a truly global perspective, general practitioner and patient groups were invited to join other NGOs at the WAO table; participants included Allergic Rhinitis and Its Impact on Asthma (ARIA), European Federation of Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Association (EFA), International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG), Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GA2LEN), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The meeting was chaired by WAO President, Professor G. Walter Canonica, with Co-Chairs Dr. Richard F. Lockey (President-Elect, WAO), Professor Jean Bousquet (Secretary General, WAO) and Dr. Thomas B. Casale (WAO Board Member-at-Large).

To optimize discussion, an international group of contributing authors prepared a draft Position Statement, which was shared with all participants prior to the meeting and provided the focus for the discussion during the meeting. The draft Position Statement reviewed and discussed at the meeting covered major aspects of SLIT, starting with the historical background. Other key issues included:

Lively and engaged discussion centered on highlights from these sections. The geographic diversity and different medical background of participants ensured varied feedback and provided important perspectives. For example, it became clear that there is an urgent need for comprehensive patient education about how to manage SLIT administration at home, what medical situations would contraindicate taking the next scheduled dose, and what to do in the case of missed doses.

The resulting documents comprising the Position Statement will be published in The World Allergy Organization Journal, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and Allergy. Moreover, the findings of the meeting will be presented at the 2nd International Immunotherapy Day during World Allergy Congress (WAC), Buenos Aires, Argentina, 6-10 December 2009.

The meeting provided an excellent model for reaching global consensus. The interest and exchange generated during the meeting has carried over to extensive post-meeting feedback. It was clear that this initiative is felt by various stakeholders to be much-needed and timely.
A few of the post-meeting responses:

On behalf of EFA (, I want to thank all of you for just a perfect meeting. Many thanks to WAO and Prof. Canonica especially! It is great that EFA has been invited from the very beginning to participate in this initiative, which is so important to our patients
Erkka Valovirta, EFA
I would like to thank WAO, all the chairpersons and participants, for this very (inter)active, challenging and fruitful meeting. I came with high expectations of this meeting but my expectations were surpassed. It is wonderful to have a chance to discuss such important topics as SLIT in a global approach, with experts from all areas and disciplines.
Peter Schmid, Swiss Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology
The two day meeting in Paris is the absolute top of all meetings I have participated in during my career. It was fabulous to have the world leaders on this subject together, with everybody speaking up to improve the final conclusions. One of the beauties of the meeting was how it was planned, with a solid structure (the draft of the chapters with the bullet points) on which further discussion was based. The fact that we don't fully agree on many issues enriched the discussion, as it obliges every one of us to reflect once more, and come to better conclusions and to better definition of the unmet needs.
Desiree Larenas-Linnemann, Mexican College of Pediatricians Specialized in Allergy & Mexican College of Clinical Immunology and Allergy