Despite high uptake of early peanut introduction among Australia infants after the 2016 guideline changes, more still needs to be done to prevent the development of peanut allergy. The allergy experts at Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute have described the impact of peanut allergy in Australia and summarised other allergy prevention strategies that hold promise.
So far, early introduction has brought a modest reduction in rates of peanut allergy among some infants. Others develop peanut allergy despite early introduction, and some infants develop peanut allergy before they are developmentally ready for introduction of peanut into their diet.
Other strategies being tested in large-scale randomised controlled trials in Australia include the role of maternal consumption of allergenic foods (egg and peanut) during pregnancy and breastfeeding and a trial of infant vitamin D supplementation for allergy prevention. Results from these trials are expected in the next 2–3 years.
Continuing to recommend introduction of peanut in the first year of life is critical to reducing the population prevalence of peanut allergy, as is developing additional prevention strategies for infants who fail to benefit from early peanut introduction. The results of these trials and others that are currently testing novel food allergy prevention strategies will help guide future approaches.
The full report can be accessed on the medical Journal of Australia’s Insight Plus website.