Deciphering HLA DR Labs

Updated on April 29, 2018


HLA DR is a simple blood test that is done to determine if you’re one of the 24% of the population that has genes that are susceptible to getting very sick from the super tiny “biotoxins” (bio meaning from living organisms) and inflammagens (agents that cause inflammation) that are naturally made by certain molds, Lyme, blue-green algae, some actinobacteria, a few types of reef fish, and the bite of the brown recluse spider. It’ll also tell you if you’re susceptible to getting Chronic Fatigue, a nasty nasal infection called MARCoNS, or tend toward too low MSH (master control hormone) along with if you should avoid the Lymerix or Gardasil vaccines. I wrote about the significance of this test in the blog “Are You Moldy”.

In that blog, I presented the “Rosetta Stone” (key) for interpreting the lab results. Even though I tried to improve upon the wording of the original Rosetta Stone developed by Dr. Shoemaker, I still felt like I was making it overly complicated – not good for “moldy” people with impaired brain function. In response, I wrote this blog hoping that it might make interpreting test results easier.

Update April 29, 2018
In Parasites & CIRS Update, I mentioned that HLA-DR testing has fallen out of favor. In 2017, Dr. Sonia Rapaport presented at the International Conference on Chronic Pathologies. At 10:30 in that presentation, she discusses the fact that the number of people that have a susceptible haplotype is much higher than the 24% reported by Dr. Shoemaker. Race, country, and ethnicity all play a role. For example, 90% of folks in Belgium have at least one “bad” halplotype. Given this, she seriously questioned the usefulness of HLA-DR testing.

Sean also points out that in the 2016 Irvine Mold Conference that Dr. Shoemaker himself commented that HLA-DR testing is questionable. I don’t have those videos, but I do have notes that others took of the conference. At that time, Dr. Rapaport was already looking into HLA-DR.
Update End

Three Steps

There are three basic steps. First, you find the first two numbers listed in each of the five sections of the lab results and convert them using a simple set of rules. The five sections are labeled DRB1, DQ, DRB3, DRB4, and DRB5. Second, you place these numbers into groups (buckets) and try to mix-and-match these numbers to see if you can create at least one of the known combinations that are problematic. Third, if you have at least one susceptible gene combination, then you are susceptible and should read over the “Are You Moldy” blog to get a sense for if something more should be done. That’s it. Hope this helps.

Step 1: Rules to Convert Lab Numbers

HLA DR 11-3-52B

HLA DR 17-2-52B


  • Change 03 to 17
  • All others leave as is
  • If only one present, write twice


  • Leave as is
  • If only one present, write twice


  • Change 01 to 52A
  • Change 02 to 52B
  • Change 03 to 52C
  • If blank, write nothing
  • If only one present, may need to write twice*


  • If present, write 53
  • If blank, write nothing
  • If only one present, may need to write twice*


  • If present, write 51
  • If blank, write nothing
  • If only one present, may need to write twice*

*If there is only one allele listed in all three categories (DRB3, DRB4, DRB5) then you may need to write it twice – you have to look at DRB1 and DQ alleles along with all the known haplotypes.

Step 2: Rules to Combine Alleles

  • Put DRB1 numbers into first bucket. You will always have two.
  • Put DQ numbers into second bucket. You will always have two.
  • Put DRB3, DRB4, and DRB5 numbers-letters into third bucket. You may have none, one, or two.
  • Take numbers-letters from each bucket and place into matching slots.
    1. DRB1 numbers go into first slots
    2. DQ numbers go into second slots
    3. DRB3, DRB4, DRB5 numbers go into third slots (may be empty)
  • Bucket 1 numbers can only go into the first slots, bucket 2 numbers can only go into the second slots, and bucket 3 numbers can only go into third slots.
  • Mix-and-match numbers-letters to see if you can create one or more of the known haplotype combinations (see below) – you can only use each number-letter once.

Combining Alleles 11-3-52B

Combining Alleles 17-2-52A

Step 3: Interpret Results

  • Test One
    • 11-3-52B: susceptible to various Biotoxins and avoid Gardasil
    • 7-4-53: no known susceptibility – benign
    • It only takes one bad combination (haplotype) to be susceptible
  • Test Two
    • 7-2-53: mold only susceptibility
    • 17-2-52A: mold only susceptibility

HLA DR Calculator

You can double check your results using this nifty HLA DR Calculator.
Note: I have not tested this calculator for accuracy.

Susceptible HLA DR Haplotypes

  • Multiple Susceptibility (dreaded): 11-3-52B, 12-3-52B, 4-3-53, 14-5-52B
  • Mold: 7-2-53, 7-3-53, 13-6-52A, 13-6-52B, 13-6-52C, 17-2-52A, 18-4-52A
  • Chronic Lyme: 15-6-51, 16-5-51
  • Dinoflagellates (fish): 4-7-53, 4-8-53
  • MARCoNS: 11-7-52B
  • Low MSH: 1-5
  • MS: 15-6-51
  • Chronic Fatigue: 4-3-53, 11-3-52B
  • Chronic Fatigue from Lyme vaccine Lymerix: 4-3-53 (Subtypes 0401, 0402, and 0404 for DRB1 are worst.)
  • Gardasil Vaccine for cervical cancers should be avoided: 11-3-52B
  • Low Mold Risk: 7-9-83, 9-9-53, 12-7-52B
  • No Known Susceptibility: 8-3, 8-4, 8-6
  • Low Risk Mold: 7-9-53, 12-7-52B, 9-3-53, 9-9-53
  • Note: People with 11-3-52B haplotypes that have very high TGF-beta 1 often have connective tissue issues, dysautonomia, and mast cell activation. Connective tissue issues range from those similar to Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, to Chiari Malformations in the brain, to pelvic floor dysfunction, to chiropractic adjustments not holding – need constant re-adjustments. Dysautonomia involves the autonomic nervous system resulting in symptoms such as fainting, cardiovascular issues, and breathing problems. Dysautonomia is linked to conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. The 11-3-52B haplotype tends to have more pain and somatic dysfunction (musculoskeletal, nervous, or lymphatic). This group of people tend to be very hard to treat.
  • Note: In his book “Surviving Mold“, Dr. Shoemaker listed 1-5 as low MSH. However, it is not listed on the Surviving Mold Website. This does not mean that 1-5 doesn’t have significance. In his FAQ’s, Dr. Shoemaker says, “In assessment of the DRB-1 1-5 over the years (together with its related haplotypes of 10-5 and 103-5, and 1-3 and 1-4) the only variable that reaches statistical significance we have seen is a reduced level of MSH in cases compared to other cases and then to controls.”
  • Note: Up to 5% with a no known susceptibility haplotypes may still get CIRS from mold but will recovery more easily. There are a total of 54 known haplotypes – see page 716 in the book “Surviving Mold”. Alternatively, upon completion of the Biotoxin Test, you’ll be shown the 54 haplotypes 😉
  • Dr. Shoemaker’s HLA DR Chart