Peanut, or tree nut, allergies are all too common in Australia. As many as one child in 200 has the potential to develop a peanut allergy. Although you can become allergic to peanuts at any time, approximately one in 10 people will grow out of the response, or become ‘non allergic’ over time.
Whilst most people’s reactions are considered mild, severe symptoms can be life threatening.
To counter this issue, scientists have developed a patch that works to lessen the severity of allergic reactions.
The biotechnology company called DBV Technologies invented the patch. The patch works by delivering a type of “epicutaneous immunotherapy,” which means the drug is delivered to the body through the skin.
Each patch is fitted with a sample of peanut protein. Once applied to your skin the protein makes its way into your system without touching your blood stream. It is this reason that the allergen is able to be distributed to your body without causing an allergic reaction.
When worn for an extended period of time, over a year, the patch could make it possible for previously allergic people to have small amounts of peanuts, according to David Schilansky, Chief Operating Officer of DBV Technologies.
The company says it hopes that the patch will make a significant difference in the lives of those who suffer from extreme allergies to peanuts.
The patch is currently in its initial testing stages on children aged four to 11 who will see the greatest benefits from decreasing their allergies.
“This is a new method of immunotherapy,” Pierre-Henri Benhamou, DBV’s CEO, told Business Insider. Differing from previous treatments, such as desensitisation – which can cause allergic reactions, this treatment will give the peace of mind to parents who constantly worry about their child’s reaction.
After initial testing is complete, the company is looking to transfer their patch technology to other allergies, such as milk and eggs – some of the most common food allergies.