Peanut allergy doesn’t sounds like a thing that could potentially kill you, but studies show that in fact more than a few people die every year because of it. Now, food allergies in general are not as common as one may think and the body’s reaction to food it doesn’t like is rarely so extreme that it can lead to death. However, these types of allergies are still a great cause of concern for many people around the world. In the US alone some 2,000 people visit the emergency room on a yearly basis because of food allergies, and more often than not the culprit was a little old peanut or some other type of nut. The worst part about all of this is that there is no known cure for peanut allergy, although this is finally expected to change in the near future.
An experimental new treatment developed by researchers from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia shows some very promising results. The treatment in question was already tested on a group of 60 children suffering from peanut allergy and no less than 80% of them became tolerant to peanuts after several months of therapy. The children were given either a probiotic called Lactobacillus rhamnosus along with a peanut protein or a placebo in order to better measure the effect. The peanut protein dosage was very small at first, but gradually increased every two weeks, with the whole treatment lasting for about 18 months. Most of the children who took part in the therapy eventually became tolerant of peanuts and were no longer exhibiting any symptoms related to peanut allergy a few weeks after the treatment stopped.
Although it has proven to be very effective, this treatment takes a very long time and further testing is needed in order to ensure that the tolerance will continue to last long after the therapy has ended. But that’s just one way of curing your peanut allergy. A company that goes by the name of DBV Technologies is currently working on a product that will achieve the same goal while using different methods. The said product is called Viaskin and comes in the form of a little patch that you can attach to your arm, much like a nicotine patch. Similar to the aforementioned treatment, this patch also works by exposing the patients to small quantities of peanut extract. However, the Viaskin patch is a bit more convenient as you don’t have to ingest anything. You just slap the patch on your arm and wait for your peanut allergy to slowly disappear.
DBV Technologies CEO Pierre-Henri Benhamou says that the innovative product is still a few years away, but once it does make an appearance on markets worldwide, peanut allergy is expected to become a thing of the past. According to him, “it will be three years for peanut allergy, but at the end patients will be able to take in every kind of peanut. There will no more need to restrict their diet.” The Viaskin patch will become available in the US sometime during 2018.