These days, when it comes to classroom snack time, peanuts are pretty much a no-no; the chance that a child with a peanut allergy could come in contact with a food that has the nuts (or even nut oil) in it is just too great. But thanks to a new product, the Viaskin Peanut patch, children with peanut allergies — along with their parents and teachers — may be able to worry less about an accidental allergic reaction. Wouldn't that make everyone breathe a little easier?
Viaskin Peanut Patch
Much like a vaccine, the patch — created by French biotechnology company DBV Technologies — exposes the immune system of the wearer (a child between one to three years of age) to the one thing it's trying to protect it from: peanuts. In other words, this little disc-like patch administers extremely tiny doses of peanut protein throughout the day. Researchers believe the constant minimal dosage will reduce the wearer's chance of having an allergic reaction if and when accidental exposure does occur.
Although the patch is still waiting for a green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Viaskin Peanut is currently in review and could be released during the second half of this year. With more than 150 peanut-related deaths per year in the United States alone, this little patch could be a potential life saver.
"We are pleased with this positive step forward in our progress towards potential approval of Viaskin Peanut, and appreciate the feedback we received from the FDA supporting submission of our BLA," said chairman and chief executive officer of DBV Technologies, Pierre-Henri Benhamou, M.D., in a press release. "There are approximately one million children in the U.S. diagnosed with this life-threatening disease, and we look forward to continue working with the agency to address this urgent unmet medical need."
Hope for a Cure
So far, the Viaskin patch has made its way through more than a few trial runs. Viaskin's upcoming clinical trial will test the reactions that 50 toddlers have to two different microdoses (100 µg and 250 µg) over three months, according to a press release.
That the FDA has actually agreed to review Viaskin is a big deal in itself — and it gives us hope that a cure for peanut allergies isn't too far behind.
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