Blood test for easy allergy diagnosis
A NEW blood test could make it much easier and cheaper to identify kids with peanut allergies.
It looks for biomarkers released by a type of white blood cell called mast cells. Peanut allergies are currently identified with an unreliable skin-prick test and a time-consuming feeding process.
Dr Alexandra Santos, of King’s College London, said: “We are also adapting this to other foods such as milk, eggs, sesame and tree nuts.
“The new test is specific in confirming the diagnosis so when it’s positive we can be very sure it means allergy.
“We would reduce by two-thirds the number of expensive, stressful oral food challenges conducted, as well as saving children from experiencing allergic reactions.
“This test will be useful as we are seeing more and more children who have never been exposed to these foods because they have severe eczema or have siblings with allergies.”