Scientists for a French company say they have developed a new skin patch that could help cure thousands of people with severe peanut allergies.

The patch is backed with adhesive, and contains trace amounts of peanut proteins. It is worn on the back or arm, and allows very small amounts of the peanut to enter the skin.

According to the scientists, once the peanut protein enters the skin it comes into contact with immune cells which typically trigger an allergic reaction. However, the trace amounts of peanut protein that are allowed to enter the skin are not enough to trigger a reaction, enabling the immune system to get used to their presence. Eventually, the immune system will learn that the peanut protein is not a threat, and will stop causing an allergic reaction.

Clinical Trial Begins

Researchers recently began a one-year trial of the patch, known as “Viaskin Peanut,” involving more than 200 patients with severe peanut allergies. The volunteers will wear either the peanut patch or an identical placebo patch, which will be changed daily for the duration of the study. The scientists hope that the patch will someday be available to help those with life-threatening peanut allergies avoid an accidental reaction. “There are no treatments available on the market for this life-threatening disease. Viaskin Peanut brings real hope for millions of patients,” commented a spokesman for the French firm DBV Technologies, which developed the patch.

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