Peanuts are the most common cause of fatal allergic reactions to food.
People who are allergic to them must avoid them and check labels carefully.
January 30th 2014 in The Lancet describes a trial with 85 children given tiny amount of peanut protein a day to train the immune system to tolerate peanut protein.
The dose was gradually increased while the children were in hospital and most children learnt to tolerate peanuts.
A researcher – Dr Pamela Ewan said
“This large study is the first of its kind in the world to have had such a positive outcome, and is an important advance in peanut allergy research.”
Proper risk assessment needs to be done to make sure that the children are not in danger.
60% of people allergic to peanuts are also allergic to nuts, so great care must be taken.
Maureen Jenkins, director of clinical services at Allergy UK, said: “The fantastic results of this study exceed expectation.
“Peanut allergy is a particularly frightening food allergy, causing constant anxiety of a reaction from peanut traces.
“This is a major step forward in the global quest to manage it.”
Prof Simon Murch an allergy expert said ” This is not something that should be undertaken at home, or indeed outside specialist centres.”