It’s looking more and more like peanut allergies could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a genius team at the University of South Australia.
Will this be the end of peanut allergies?
The university’s researchers are developing a vaccination which they’re hoping will knock this allergy on its head, saving lives and erasing the stress and anxiety allergy sufferers and their families endure.
Peanut allergy is, unfortunately, one of the most common food allergies in Australia. Around three-quarters of a million Australians are affected by this allergy, the University of South Australia says.
A peanut allergy can cause a range of responses from mild hives to serious and life-threatening anaphylaxis.
University of South Australia researcher Dr Preethi Eldi is the project leader for the team working on this vaccine, and she explains how nut allergies can be a lifelong burden.
“The impact peanut allergy can have on a family is all-consuming, especially given the very real risks to a child’s heath,” Dr Eldi explains.
“Parents are constantly protecting their child from being exposed to peanuts in all forms – from popular breakfast cereals and school snacks, to biscuits, cakes and even health foods – whether at home, school, or in social situations. And, it means being vigilant and imposing very stringent dietary restrictions, not only for the child, but often, also for family members.”
Tricking the body
Dr Eldi hopes that a future vaccine could ease this allergy burden and prevent injuries and fatalities.
“If we can deliver an effective peanut allergy vaccine, we’ll remove this stress, concern, and constant monitoring, freeing the child and their family from the constraints and dangers of peanut allergy.”
The vaccine that’s currently in development works by ‘tricking’ the body into not reacting to the peanut allergen.
More trials for this jab lay ahead, but it’s all looking very positive. There’s every chance this vaccine will eventually appear on the childhood immunisation schedule.
Fingers, toes and eyes crossed for that.