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Is a cure for peanut allergy in sight?

If you or your child has a serious peanut allergy, you know how stressful it can be.

The passive approach of trying to avoid contact with peanuts isn’t easy. While keeping your home nut-free is reasonably achievable, you have little control over how friends and family keep theirs. Not to mention the challenges faced by flying or using other forms of public transport.

Sure, you can carry an EpiPen with you all the time. But this only provides temporary relief from a severe reaction, and further medical assistance is always needed.

Which is why two peanut allergy prevention products currently in phase III trials are welcome news.

One, DBV’s Viaskin Peanut has obtained Fast Track and Breakthrough Therapy designation from the FDA. It consists of a self-applied patch which allows tiny amounts of solubilized peanut protein to be delivered to the lymph nodes via the skin rather than the bloodstream. Continued use has been shown to be effective at inducing a sustained desensitization in at least one-third of peanut-allergic children.

The other, AR101, is an investigational oral product that uses defatted, lightly-roasted peanut flour. Each capsule contains either 0.5, 1, 10, 20, or 100 mg of peanut protein, and these are given in escalating dosages depending on tolerability.

Taking steps to reduce the risk of your child developing a peanut allergy in the first place is still the best approach. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing infants with severe eczema or egg allergy to peanut in a safe way (such as by mixing peanut flour with pureed vegetables) as early as 4 to 6 months of age, following the successful ingestion of other solid foods.

For more information about peanut allergy see here.

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