Food allergy breakthrough: omalizumab displays promising results for kids and teens

Children and adolescents with food allergies have an improved tolerance to various foods when taking the drug, omalizumab. That’s according to the planned interim analysis of an advanced clinical trial, testing the drug’s impact on food allergies. The results of the study, sponsored and funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is potentially lifechanging to the estimated 220 million people affected by food allergies globally.

Why finding a treatment for food allergies is so important

Food allergies​ affect an estimate 2.5% of the world’s population. At the lower end of the spectrum, an allergic reaction can present mild symptoms to the sufferer, such as skin irritation or sneezing. However, at their most severe, a food-related allergic reaction can cause a threat to life through anaphylaxis, a whole-body response that can impair breathing, cause a dramatic drop in blood pressure and affect the heart rate. Anaphylaxis can come on within minutes of exposure to a trigger food.

“Allergic diseases, as a whole, including asthma, allergic rhinitis, skin allergies and food allergies make up one of the most common groups of chronic diseases in the EU. The prevalence of allergic disease has been growing in Europe for more than 50 years,” a spokesperson for the European Commission told FoodNavigator.

“Today, they affect over 150 million Europeans. Moreover, allergies are the most common non-communicable disease in children and represent the main cause of children’s emergency visits and hospitalisations.”