A wearable skin patch could prevent life-threatening peanut allergy in toddlers according to a promising new study. Currently, there are no approved treatments for peanut-allergic children younger than four years of age, according to the researchers of the study. Hence, the new findings are considered crucial in the field.
The results of the late-stage trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, show that the peanut patch was safe, with very low chances of a severe allergic reaction, according to Science Daily. Allergic reactions to peanuts can be a matter of life and death for small children. The usual approach for managing peanut allergy is trying to avoid peanut-based products. However, accidental exposures such as in schools or while using shared cutlery can often not be avoided and cause severe risk to the children.
The researchers said the new findings are terrific news for families of children with peanut allergies. “Children who originally reacted to a small fraction of a peanut were able to tolerate the equivalent of one to four peanuts after completing the treatment course. This means that these children will be well protected from accidental exposure to peanuts," said co-author Melanie Makhija, according to Science Daily.
The trial included 362 toddlers from eight countries, with 244 randomly assigned to wear the Viaskin patch. About 67% of kids from the ages of 1 to 3 who wore the patch, called Viaskin, for a year could safely tolerate more peanut protein than when the trial began, according to the findings from drugmaker DBV Technologies SA, as reported by AP. Furthermore, Anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that usually includes difficulty breathing, occurred in about 7.8% of patients wearing patches; four of them were considered to be linked to treatment.
In a press note, Alkis Togias, chief of the Allergy, Asthma, and Airway Biology Branch at the US National Institutes of Health said the results are “very good news for toddlers and their families as the next step toward a future with more treatments for food allergies.”
The new study could relieve a big stress for parents and also spark new further research in the area.