Immunogenetics and pharmacogenetics of allergic asthma in Africa

Tshegofatso Mabelane, Refiloe Masekela, Collet Dandara, Sabelo Hadebe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Asthma is a common chronic condition in children and in an African setting is often highly prevalent in urban areas as compared to rural areas. Asthma is a heritable disease and the genetic risk is often exacerbated by unique localised environmental factors. The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) recommendation for the control of asthma includes inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) alone or together with short-acting β2-agonists (SABA) or long-acting β2-agonists (LABA). While these drugs can relieve asthma symptoms, there is evidence of reduced efficacy in people of African ancestry. Whether this is due to immunogenetics, genomic variability in drug metabolising genes (pharmacogenetics) or genetics of asthma-related traits is not well defined. Pharmacogenetic evidence of first-line asthma drugs in people of African ancestry is lacking and is further compounded by the lack of representative genetic association studies in the continent. In this review, we will discuss the paucity of data related to the pharmacogenetics of asthma drugs in people of African ancestry, mainly drawing from African American data. We will further discuss how this gap can be bridged to improve asthma health outcomes in Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1165311
JournalFrontiers in Allergy
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • asthma
  • genetics
  • pharmacogenetics
  • th2 (type-2) immune responses


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