Australian scientists believe they have developed a possible cure for people with severe peanut allergies.
Researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne have invented a particular strain of probiotics, testing the friendly bacteria on 60 children who are allergic to peanuts.
The study revealed that 80 percent of the children tested tolerated the probiotic, in addition with either peanut protein or a placebo, without any allergic reactions whatsoever.
Meanwhile, of the 28 children who were tested with peanut protein, three were able to eat peanuts following the study.
Despite the positive initial steps, researchers stressed that some children did still have allergic reactions following the process.
“It seems we have been able to modify the allergic response to peanuts such that the immune system produces protective responses rather than a harmful response to the peanut protein,” Xinhua news agency quoted lead researcher and associate Professor Mimi Tang as telling the ABC Wednesday.
Peanut allergies have increased by 350 percent in westernised countries over the last 20 years, with a recent Australian study finding that 10 percent of all 12-month-old babies were allergic to peanuts, as well as 3 percent of all infants.
Although further work is required to confirm whether the children tested acquired a long-term resistance to peanut allergies, Tang believes it’s an encouraging first step.
“This is a promising therapy in the context of the increase in peanut allergy incidence,” she said.
Peanut allergies are the most common cause of death due to food allergies.