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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Antibody Reduces Allergic Reactions to Multiple Foods in Clinical Trial

A group of children eat lunch outdoors.


A 16-week course of a monoclonal antibody, omalizumab, increased the amount of peanut, tree nuts, egg, milk and wheat that multi-food allergic children as young as one year could consume without an allergic reaction in a late-stage clinical trial. 

Nearly 67% of participants who completed the antibody treatment could consume a single dose of 600 milligrams (mg) or more of peanut protein, equivalent to 2.5 peanuts, without a moderate or severe allergic reaction, in contrast with less than 7% of participants who received placebo. 

The treatment yielded similar outcomes for egg, milk, wheat, cashew, walnut and hazelnut at a threshold dose of 1,000 mg of protein or more. 

This suggests the antibody therapy has the potential to protect children and adolescents if they accidentally eat a food to which they are allergic despite efforts to avoid it, according to investigators. The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“People with food allergies and their caregivers need to maintain constant vigilance to avoid foods that could cause a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. This is extremely stressful, especially for parents of young children,” said Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of NIAID, the trial’s regulatory sponsor. “Although food avoidance remains critical, the findings reported today show that a medicine can help reduce the risk of allergic reactions to common foods and may provide protection from accidental exposure emergencies.”

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