Peanut allergies could be cured… with peanuts

Any parent of a child with a peanut allergy will know how distressing and stressful day-to-day life is, having to be constantly aware of potential triggers and prepared to deal with life-threatening allergic reactions. But now scientists think they’ve found a way to cure children of peanut allergies – simply by giving them a small amount of peanut protein every day.

Researchers revealed the findings of their trial in the medical journal, The Lancet. Scientists added small doses of peanut protein in flour mixed in with the food of children allergic to peanuts. After six months, 84% of one group and 91% of another were able to eat the equivalent of five peanuts mixed in with their food without having a severe reaction. This means that when they come into contact with tiny amounts of peanut contamination in other foods, they would not have a life-threatening response to it.

Peanuts are the most common food cause of severe allergic reaction and around 1.4% of children in affluent countries are allergic to them.

However, it’s not recommended for parents to try this at home. The scientists are now studying whether the effect of the treatment would reduce over time, making the children susceptible to an allergic reaction again, so it may be some time before this becomes a recognised and practised treatment. Watch this space!

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