Australian researchers have recently developed a new way of conducting peanut allergy tests that promises to be less invasive and more accurate than previously used methods. The researchers, from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and University of Melbourne, set out to develop a test that was simpler and less risky than an oral food challenge.
The two-pronged approach using a blood test reduces the need for oral food challenges, which can cause dangerous allergic reactions, according to Associate Professor Katie Allen. “(The existing test) can be dangerous and expensive,” she explained to theDaily Telegraph.Also, she notes, “The waiting list for the oral food challenge in Melbourne alone is one to two years long so this test is going to free up already overwhelmed health services.”
The new testing process involves a blood test to screen for peanut allergies. Using the same blood sample, the test process involves another stage, screening for a peanut protein known as “Arah4,” the most common peanut allergen in childhood peanut allergies. If the blood has Arah4, the test confirms a peanut allergy, with no further testing needed.
Information about the newly developed test was recently published in the Journal Of Allergy And Clinical Immunology.