A new peanut allergy drug could be the first protective treatment to ever reach the market and could safeguard thousands of children from peanut allergies.
Aimmune Theraputics has developed a drug that may become the first protective treatment against peanut allergies. The results of the trials, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, were quite promising. Once the drug receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), people with fatal peanut allergies will have something to rejoice about.
Peanuts are one of the top food allergens in the United States — affecting 2.5% of children in the country. What makes the issue worse is that allergic reactions to peanuts can be life threatening. When even a trace amount is ingested, a person allergic to peanuts could go into an anaphylactic shock. Those allergic to peanuts need to always be ready with an epinephrine auto-injector to stay safe. With this new drug, such drastic measures may not have to be the go-to option.
AR101 is designed to gradually build tolerance to the peanut proteins, so it is most effective when given to children. The kids who took part in the drug trial began with a very sensitive allergy to peanuts: one-tenth of a kernel would trigger a severe reaction. By the end of the trial, 67% of the children were able to ingest around 2 peanut kernels (600 milligrams) without significant allergy symptoms. While the drug doesn’t completely get rid of the allergy, it did aid in the tolerance of kids to peanuts — meaning the chances of going into anaphylaxis has decreased significantly.
The issue with peanut allergies is not when a kid wants to eat some peanut butter despite their allergies, it’s when they eat something containing peanuts without their knowledge. Therefore, the scariest part of having highly sensitive peanut allergies is its unpredictability. With AR101, it’s easier to catch an allergic reaction before it becomes dangerous. A kid will show mild symptoms of an allergy, and a parent can immediately administer first aid without having to always carry an injection.
AR101 is a promising allergy drug and if it is approved by the FDA, kids will be able to start building tolerance to deathly peanut allergies. While the drug is most effective for children and will not 100% cure a peanut allergy, it will aid in the protection of kids vulnerable to severe allergic reactions. Who knows: perhaps one day, these kids will be able to finally taste peanut butter.