New peanut allergy test discovered

Clinicians at the John Hunter Children's Hospital in Australia have discovered a less-invasive way to detect severe allergic reactions to peanuts with a new breathing and blood test.

Immunologist Dr. Rhani Bhatia says that the results could more easily determine a peanut allergy in young children and is far less invasive and dangerous than are some current methods. The combination breathing and blood test can be used to "predict" allergic reactions before they are noticed by parents.

The blood test checks for specific, known antibodies that react to nut proteins. This is a test now commonly available in many countries. The new addition is the breathing test, which adds an allergic inflammation check during very light exposure to the allergen. Adding this component can determine the likelihood that the child will enter anaphylaxis if exposed, yielding a better understanding of the risks for the child.

This addition to the testing can alert allergists to instances in which they should forgo common challenge testing, which can often create traumatic and stressful reactions.

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