diagnostic purposes. Cat allergens have been well studied, although the role of serum albumin and its overall importance in allergic reactions to cats have yet to be determined. Allergenic extracts that are standardized for the content of Fel d I have appeared only recently. Well-characterized, standardized extracts of dog allergen preparations with known concentrations of Can f I are not available and should be developed. Similarly, there is a limited understanding of the identity and characteristics of many other mammalian and avian allergens. The lack of standardized extracts is partially responsible for the lack of development of immunochemical assays such as monoclonal antibody-based assays for many mammalian and avian allergens. Methods for measuring airborne allergen concentrations are critical for devising and evaluating control measures.
Research Agenda Item: Characterize important allergens from indoor animal sources (e.g., cats, dogs, birds, rodents) more precisely in order to develop standardized allergenic extracts for diagnostic purposes and immunoassays suitable for monitoring exposure.
Despite an increasing body of knowledge regarding the role of indoor allergen exposure, particularly to mammals, as a cause of asthma, much remains to be learned. The relationship between exposure to indoor pets and the increasing morbidity and mortality of asthma requires further clarification.
Research Agenda Item: Determine the relationship between exposure to indoor pets and the incidence, prevalence, and severity of asthma.
In addition, rodents that infest inner-city dwellings need to be examined as potential risk factors for asthma among individuals exposed to these potent allergens.
Research Agenda Item: Explore the possibility that exposure to rodent populations in inner-city areas may be a risk factor for asthma.
For many allergens, the size of airborne particles and their distribution in the air have not been elucidated and should be studied. Reservoirs of animal and avian allergen exposure and their dissemination through ventilation systems of offices, apartments, and other large buildings likewise require investigation.
Research Agenda Item: Investigate the potential role of mammalian- and avian-allergen- contaminated ventilation systems in the development of allergic disease among inhabitants of apartments, offices, and other large buildings.