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New toothpaste could prevent severe allergic reactions to peanuts, study suggests | Science & Tech News

A group of scientists has developed a new toothpaste that has potential to prevent severe reactions in adults with peanut allergies.

In an early-stage clinical trial, 32 adults with peanut allergies tested a toothpaste containing trace amounts of peanut protein to see if it was safe to use. The hope is that introducing small amounts of peanuts to the body over time will help the immune system get used to the allergen and reduce severe reactions.

Participants in the trial used the toothpaste for two minutes a day over 11 months, and at the end of the study, none of the participants experienced any severe allergic symptoms or anaphylaxis.

While the trial focused on the safety of the toothpaste and not its effectiveness, the results are a positive indication that it could help prevent life-threatening allergic reactions, according to the study’s lead author Dr. William Berger.

The findings were presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s annual meeting and showed that the treatment might be easier to administer than injection treatments currently used for allergies to grass, trees, and weeds.

The study participants were divided into two groups, with one group using the peanut protein-infused toothpaste and the other using a placebo. Over four months, researchers gradually increased the amount of peanut protein in the toothpaste.

Dr. Berger explained that when people brush their teeth with the peanut protein toothpaste, the protein is absorbed into their mouth. Over time, immune cells in the mouth should become desensitized to the allergens, making reactions less severe, but it is not a cure for the allergy.

Another study with a larger group of volunteers is needed before the toothpaste can be submitted to the FDA, but the positive results from the initial trial are a promising step toward potentially preventing severe allergic reactions in adults with peanut allergies.