Blood test for easy al­lergy di­ag­no­sis

Western Times - - LIFE | HEALTHY LIVING -

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.”

Photo: iS­tock

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