Omalizumab Efficacy for Allergic Asthma in Children of Varying Racial Backgrounds

Child at medical appointment.
Is omalizumab equally efficacious in treating allergic asthma among children from varying racial/ethnic backgrounds?

The following article is a part of conference coverage from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting, being held virtually from November 4 to 8, 2021. The team at Pulmonology Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading experts in the field. Check back for more from the ACAAI 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting.


Omalizumab is efficacious in children with allergic asthma regardless of racial/ethnic background, according to a study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting, held in New Orleans, LA, November 4 to 8, 2021.

Racial/ethnic minority populations are often underrepresented in clinical trials for biologic therapies for asthma. However, the primary clinical trial for omalizumab, approved for treatment of children with allergic asthma, included a racially diverse population.

Researchers conducted a post-hoc subgroup analysis of the efficacy of omalizumab vs placebo in various racial/ethnic backgrounds that included 627 children (aged 6 to under 12 years old) with moderate to severe inadequately-controlled allergic asthma. The participants were categorized as: White (omalizumab = 212; placebo = 113), Blacks (omalizumab = 69; placebo = 30), and other (Asian [n=2] or unknown/not reported [n=150]; omalizumab = 103; placebo = 49). Participants received either omalizumab 75 mg to 375 mg subcutaneously or placebo every 2 to 4 weeks for 52 weeks.

Although baseline characteristics (age, sex, lung function, immunoglobulin E, and a number of clinically significant asthma exacerbations) within the past year were similar between racial/ethnic subgroups, the mean duration of asthma (White children, 5.5 years; Black children, 6.4 years; other children, 5.7 years) and a positive skin test for mold (White children, 47.1%; Black children, 75.8%; other children, 39.5%) were higher in Black children. The researchers found that Black children and other children had greater placebo-corrected rate reductions in clinically significant exacerbations compared with White children (50.8% and 45.7% vs 36.3%, respectively), but severe exacerbations were low regardless of race. In addition, treatment-emergent adverse events were similar between racial/ethnic subgroups.

“Omalizumab reduces clinically significant asthma exacerbations in children regardless of racial background,” concluded the researchers.


Visit Pulmonology Advisor’s conference section for complete coverage of ACAAI 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting.



Witonsky J, Elhawary J, Huang P, et al. Omalizumab is efficacious in children with allergic asthma from different racial backgrounds. Presented at: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting; November 4-8, 2021; New Orleans, LA.  Abstract P074.