NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

Seasonal pollen induced asthma in Islamabad

This project is based at The Allergy and Asthma Institute Pakistan


  • Project title:  To assess the feasibility of using the eDPSEEA model in seasonal pollen induced asthma in Islamabad
  • Acute or chronic:  Chronic
  • Based at:  The Allergy and Asthma Institute Pakistan
  • Start date:  September 2019
  • End date:  February 2021
  • Principal investigator:  Osman Mohammad Yusuf
  • Project team:  AAIP: Syed Muhammad Hasnain, Shahida Ashraf, Rubina Aman, Mehwish Nasim, Aimal Rextin, Mushtaq Ahmed, Muhammad Zafar, Tabish Hazir, Syed Yahya, Anwer Usma, Salman Majeed, Izhar Ullah, M Ramazan, Sher Amanullah, Maria Zainab, Saqib Mustafa, Ghulam Raza, Sumeira Akhtar, Sajjad Haider, Saima Kazmi. TUM, Munich: Jeroen ButersUniversity of Edinburgh: Aziz Sheikh, Jürgen Schwarze, Hilary Pinnock, John Norrie, Stefan Reis, Chun Lin, Nazir Lone, Tracy Jackson, Genevie Fernandes


Islamabad faces severe respiratory and asthma allergy in spring and other seasons, seriously affecting thousands of patients, including causing mortality. Since the timing of this increased respiratory morbidity corresponds with increased levels of certain pollens, it is suspected that these pollens may be the causative agent triggering these conditions. However, there is a lack of reliable studies investigating this potential link.

The eDPSEEA model (ecosystems-enriched Drivers, Pressures, State, Exposure, Effects, Actions) is a conceptual framework for an integrated assessment of human and ecosystem health. It facilitates an understanding and prediction of complex human-environment and ecosystem interactions.

Aim and impact

The aim of the project is to assess the feasibility of using the eDPSEEA model in Islamabad, in the context of seasonal pollen induced asthma exacerbations. A modelling exercise will help to devise a prediction model, to predict pollen shedding and dispersal up to three days prior to the event. The study will also identify potential strategies and interventions to help reduce pollen induced asthma exacerbations.

Predicting the shedding and flight of allergenic pollens would greatly assist patients and other stakeholders to be forewarned and prepare for associated complications, such as asthma exacerbations.

Although the primary focus in Pakistan is on pollen allergy, a second RESPIRE project in Malaysia is also interested in the interactions with the environment, pollution and respiratory conditions. These projects have therefore adopted a common framework – eDPSEEA.

Using the eDPSEEA model framework across the pilot studies will ensure that all potential drivers of respiratory health effects are systematically accounted for and associations between drivers and effects, as well as potential intervention points, are identified in a consistent manner.

Key developments

  • Pollen and air sampling equipment has been purchased and installed.
  • Training has been provided on pollen sample preparation and pollen counting.
  • Data collection has started.

Project data

Download the project Data Management Plan

View project metadata on the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway