WBUR’s “Here and Now” this week featured an article regarding the use of immunotherapies to decrease allergic reactions, specifically to peanuts.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’re well aware of the significant health risks peanut allergies present to individuals. Symptoms run the spectrum from a runny nose and throat itchiness to full-blown anaphylaxis, which includes constriction of the airways, a severe drop in blood pressure (shock), and loss of consciousness. While the most common cause of a reaction is eating peanuts or food that contains them, they can also be triggered by skin contact, cross-contamination during food handling, and even inhalation of dusts or aerosols containing peanuts (Source: Mayoclinic.org). An allergic response to peanuts can occur in just minutes.
With increasing awareness of peanut allergies, you’ve changed how you pack your children’s lunches. Packaged food must be labeled to indicate if it’s been manufactured in a factory that houses nuts. In the early stages of awareness, some scoffed at the seemingly excessive precautions, but for those who suffer from the allergy, the risk is very real, along with the limitations in lifestyle and food choices it brings. But there’s something on the horizon.
While there are no FDA-approved treatments for peanut allergies to date, there are several in development. Two such solutions include not only an oral capsule immunotherapy (OIT), which was featured on the “Here and Now” segment, but a wearable skin patch, also referred to as epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT).
The Viaskin patch is a proprietary technology that administers allergens to intact skin without allowing them to enter the bloodstream, thereby avoiding systemic allergic reactions. It is intended to decrease allergen-specific responses by gradually exposing the patient to the allergen.
The Hayes Prognosis team has been and continues to follow the progress of the Viaskin patch through the FDA approval process. We will continue to update you on its status. In the meantime, you can request the full Viaskin Prognosis Overview here. Continue to trust Hayes as an industry leader in health technology horizon scanning.