A NEW pill could wipe out asthma, eczema and hayfever and bring joy to millions of sufferers, scientists claimed last night.
The drug blocks allergens - which cause allergies - from getting into the body through the skin or via the lining of the lungs.
Prof David Garrod, who led the research, described the development as a "major breakthrough" in the war against the debilitating conditions.
He said: "Allergens from pollen or house dust mites are inhaled and then dissolve the binding material between the cells that form these protective linings. They can then enter the body passing between the cells to cause an allergic response.
"The drugs we are developing, called allergic delivery inhibitors, are designed to disable these allergens so they no longer eat through the protective cell layer. This block the allergic reaction before it happens."
Current allergy treatments are based on avoidance, such as rigorous cleaning and treatment to help with symptoms and effects.
But Prof Garrod, from Manchester University, added: "ADI's promise to be significantly better because taking a medicine is easier than lots of housework and pills are portable.
"Prevention of allergies has never before been possible. Current medicines don't act against the allergens at this early stage so the development of these ADI's could be a major breakthrough."
It is hoped that, with £3million funding, clinical trials will start within three years.
The pill, which will be taken once or twice a day, could be available in just five years.
Prof Garrod carried out the research with colleague Professor Clive Robinson and his team from the University of London.
Analysts have estimated a potential £14billion market for an allergy pill.
The drug would be a welcome relief for victims who suffer a range of conditions from constant sneezing to tight chests.