A reaction to a nut allergy is a scary and life threatening event. In severely affected people an anaphylactic reaction could be fatal. With modern mass production food plants a lot of packaged foods are not able to call themselves nut free as foods containing nuts may be produced in the same factory and the tiniest nut fragment can trigger an allergic reaction.
Affects over 1 in 50 children
A staggering 1 in 50 children are now thought to be affected by a peanut allergy meaning a cure or prevention is invaluable in today's modern society.
In a clinically controlled environment, scientists began by exposing children with a peanut allergy to one 70th of a peanut in the form of a powder mixed with other food and then gradually exposed the children to larger amounts.
After the gradual increase in exposure over 3-4 months, the children were able to eat 5 peanuts in one sitting with some even being able to tolerate 10.
These initial studies suggest that the patients will need to continue to consume peanuts in order to keep the tolerance up therefore it is not a cure as such but it looks positive that it will be an effective treatment. The team are currently applying for a licence so that the powder could be used as a medicine and made widely available.