Yesterday, the Journal Immunology released a groundbreaking new study stating that peanut allergies have been cured (in rats). By attaching peanut proteins to white blood cells and reintroducing them into the body, these lucky, peanut-phobic rats built up a tolerance, and thus faked their body to think that peanuts are good, yummy… and perfectly okay to eat without fear of collapsing into anaphylaxis.
Sorry. I had to do this!
Of course, now the FDA has to conduct trials and eventually, approve this method for human use. (I’m assuming monkey cures are next on the list though…) Unfortunately, we are years off from Big PhRMA getting a hold of it and charging you $100 a pill for the privilege of curing your allergies. (Hopefully, your insurance will cover it.)
That’s a shame, as I know several people who need this pill/injection NOW. For them, ingestion of just one peanut and/or peanut accessory can cause extreme difficulty in breathing, shock, eventual loss of consciousness… or death. One, in particular, cannot be kissed by someone who just ate a peanut cookie and brushed their teeth in quick succession before planting the big one… without visiting the emergency room. The National Institutes of Health estimate 15,000 to 30,000 anaphylaxis episodes due to peanut ingestion, and up to 200 deaths per year. Peanuts are the leading cause of fatal food-related anaphylaxis, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Currently, there is no treatment available for these allergies, aside from complete avoidance of peanuts, peanut particles and oils. Carrying around an EpiPen is mandatory. And you know what the worst part is?!?!??? NO visits to Five Guys for these folks! (Oh, the humanity! Well… I don’t dine at Five Guys either because I don’t eat beef. But that decision is by choice, not based on you know… stepping on a peanut shell and dying.)
For those who don’t suffer from peanut allergies (or do not have a loved one who does), you would be surprised how our food culture happily includes, and even encourages the lowly peanut. In addition to the obvious culprits of peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oil… etc., allergy sufferers have to analyze every nutritional label for the dreaded “p” word… or its code words. “Artificial flavorings,” chocolate(!), anything “hydrolyzed,” even “natural flavorings” may contain that nasty devil. And if they are eating a non-nut item, some people are so allergic that they cannot even eat products processed in the same plants as peanuts. And let’s forget eating out: African, Asian and Indian cuisines are notorious for using peanut oil and/or sprinkling peanuts on top of their foods. One person I know is terrified of going to India as everything’s cooked in peanut oil there. (And she’s Indian…)
So, life sucks for peanut allergy sufferers. And not only because efforts to ban peanuts in school/planes/trains/automobiles to relieve allergy sufferers’ misery bear the brunt of others’ ire. I for one, am glad that there is even a glimmer of hope that it can be cured within their lifetimes. Everybody should bite into a Snickers bar once… and then never consume it again because that s**t WILL kill you!