A long-term cure for peanut allergies may have been found
Peanut allergy sufferers may finally have a cure for their life-threatening allergy thanks to a seemingly successful trial in Australia.
Scientists worked with 48 peanut allergy sufferers to help create a remedy for extreme reactions to peanuts. Split equally into two groups, the researchers gave one group a placebo while the other received a pill made of probiotics and peanut protein. After four years of testing, the group who received small doses of peanut protein built up a tolerance to the legume.
Because the test group was so small, it’s unclear just how successful this will be on a bigger scale but results suggest it’s a successful method to deal with peanut allergies.
“Our findings show that combined probiotic and peanut oral immunotherapy provides long-lasting clinical benefit compared with placebo,” the authors write in the paper, published this week in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, “with two-thirds of treated participants symptom-free after peanut ingestion four years after completing treatment.”
Of the original 24 patients treated with peanut protein, 16 were still able to eat peanuts four years after completing the trial, with 11 of them eating them once a week. Twenty of the 24 participants also claimed they’d not had an allergic reaction since stopping the trial. Conversely, only one of the 24 members in the placebo group could eat peanuts and six said they had allergic reactions after eating peanuts accidentally.
Participants also took part in an eating test where they ate peanuts in a controlled manner to see what sort of reaction would take place. From this test, it showed that probiotic peanut therapy does work – even if only 27 participants were involved.
The study shows that there is a way to ease the symptoms of serious allergies. As someone who suffers from a severe peanut and nut allergy, you’d think I’d be rather thrilled about such news. However, one reason I’m not shouting about this everywhere is that – due to the nature of the research and the fact that more is required before it can even go through the process of becoming a drug treatment – a “cure” for peanut allergies is still quite a way off.
I’m also not a fan of the smell, taste or idea of eating peanuts, so even if there were an available cure, I’d hardly start guzzling them again. In the UK it’s actually quite easy to live a peanut- and nut-free life. My nut allergy is also more debilitating – I can’t even touch hazelnuts, for example – yet this research only covers peanut allergies and there’s no proof such a treatment could work with other nuts.