Researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia may have found a solution to a common problem: the peanut allergy. According to Food Allergy Research and Education, the peanut allergy is the most common food allergy. In fact, the number of children in the U.S. with a peanut allergy has more than tripled over the past two decades. But scientists remain hopeful about their potentially ground-breaking solution to these severe food allergy symptoms.
Published in the journal Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, the study describes the effect of something called the probiotic and peanut oral immunotherapy method or PPOIT. Researchers combined the “build immunity by increasing exposure method” with peanut protein with the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
For the study, 62 children took either this treatment or a peanut protein and placebo treatment daily for 18 months. At the end of the time period, 80% of the participants had developed a tolerance to peanuts. Four years later, researchers conducted a follow-up of the 48 children who were eligible to determine the long-term effects of the treatment.
In the control group, one participant out of 24, had been able to eat peanuts even since the study. In the PPOIT group, 16 out of 24 children were able to eat peanuts ever since the study. To put that in perspective, 2/3 of the children that received the treatment have become desensitized to peanuts.
Another key finding of the study is that none of the participants reported any life-threatening allergic reactions, known as anaphylaxis. Considering that peanuts are the number one cause of anaphylaxis-related deaths, researchers are hopeful about their findings.
Senior study author Professor Mimi Tang said, “This treatment has the potential to help people with all kinds of food allergies, not just peanuts. Eventually, we want this treatment to be available to everyone.”
Over 250 million people across the world are affected by peanut allergies, a number that has been steadily rising over the last 20 years. The results of this study suggest a possible peanut allergy cure, that could save millions of lives, is on the horizon.
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Watch the video below for more information on the study: