New solution for groundnut allergy impresses

You may not have to worry about your child’s groundnut allergy as an experimental study has shown promise in dealing with it.

An intervention that involves the use of a wearable patch with peanut on a toddler’s skin has shown early signs of helping young ones overcome extreme reactions to the legumes.

The skin patch experiment was conducted by DBV Technologies, a French biopharmaceutical firm, on more than 200 babies from different countries aged between one and three years who had a history of peanut allergies.

A groundnut (peanut) allergy, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, elicits one of the most severe and life-threatening allergic reactions — called anaphylaxis.

In Kenya, there is minimal data on children affected by this type of allergen. However, a study published in the World Allergy Organ Journal in 2012 shows that this type of reaction occurs in up to five out of 100 Kenyan children.

The most common types of children’s allergies in the country include those against cow milk, eggs and beef.

Before this experimental study, there was no cure for peanut allergy for the babies aged four years and below despite its life-threatening impact.

The skin patch treatment used in the study is called Viaskin Peanut and the findings of the study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week.

The patch is layered with a small amount of peanut protein that is absorbed into the skin. This is done on a daily basis and it is worn between the shoulder blades to prevent babies from taking it off.

The results of the study showed that children who used it for one year responded to treatment by 67 percent and showed desensitisation from the peanut allergen.

“A shift towards less severe food challenge reactions was seen following 12 months of treatment with Viaskin Peanut,” said the researchers.