Can people with food allergies gain protection against accidental intake?

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has announced its support for a study into therapies for people with multiple food allergies. The study will test the ability of bi-weekly or monthly injections of omalizumab to increase a person’s tolerance to foods they are allergic to.

Omalizumab is a manufactured antibody that has shown promise in earlier food allergy studies. It appears to help prevent allergic reactions to small amounts of food allergens, such as the levels that may be consumed by accident.

The new study will be conducted at 10 clinical sites throughout the United States. It is hoped around 225 people will participate in the study that will take around 5 years to complete. Some participants will be given oral immunotherapy in addition to the antibody injections. Eligibility criteria include age between 2 to 55 years, with allergy to peanut and at least two other foods, such as cow’s milk, egg white, wheat, cashew, hazelnut or walnut.

A pilot scale study of 48 people found that 83 per cent of participants could consume two grams of two food allergens after receiving omalizumab injections and oral immunotherapy. In contrast, only 33% of participants in that study who received oral immunotherapy and a placebo injection could consume the same amount.

More information about the ‘OUtMATCH trial’ can be found on the National Institute of Health website.