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This article was originally published by 9 News.
About three percent of Australian children are allergic to peanuts, but a new trial will aim to reduce the figure by offering a permanent cure.
Sydney researchers have already created temporary immunity in some sufferers, but they are hoping to create a longer-lasting effect.
An earlier trial at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead allowed Hannah Hoyer, 16, to develop some immunity by eating small doses of boiled peanuts.
Now Hannah, who has had a life-long peanut allergy, can maintain her immunity by eating peanuts every day.
“It’s such a relief not having to worry about Hannah being exposed and potentially having an anaphylactic reaction from that,” her mum Janet said.
However, a newly funded trial will investigate possible permanent cures.
A $1.1m government grant will allow researchers at the children’s hospital and the Charles Perkins Centre Nepean to undertake a four-year trial from next year.
The trial will involve 150 children taking boiled peanuts and a special supplement developed by the CSIRO, which provides protection from the allergen.
“We can not just temporarily make people not so allergic to peanuts, in this instance, but that we can permanently fix their allergy,” Professor Dianne Campbell said.
Researchers are hopeful the trial will also provide information about possible treatments for other food allergies.
“We can potentially look at tree nut allergies, which are also quite common and can be quite dangerous as well, or even seafood allergies,” Professor Ralph Nanan said.