Immunotherapy for egg allergy may soon allow patients to eat egg safely

Washington: A new research, presented by study author Edwin Kim, at the annual Americal Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI) conference in San Francisco, found that after completing up to four years of egg oral immunotherapy (eOIT) treatment, certain participants were able to safely incorporate egg into their diet for five years.

Speaking about it, Kim said, “Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies and usually appears in early childhood. It has significant risk for severe allergic reactions and negatively affects quality of life for children with the allergy.”

“While the allergy does seem to go away with age, it can last into the second decade of life for most people. Any treatment that can allow the introduction of egg into the diet of someone with egg allergy”>egg allergy provides nutritional benefits and peace of mind for the patient and their family,” Kim further added.

The trial began with either eOIT or a placebo for 55 patients aged 5-11 who were allergic to egg. The treatments were randomized – 40 participants received eOIT and 15 received the placebo.

The treatments lasted for four years, during which patients were tested for their sensitivity to egg. Those who were considered desensitised – requiring a higher quantity of egg to cause an allergic reaction – could eat 10 grams, or about two teaspoons, of pure egg without reaction.

Desensitised patients then stopped eOIT and were tested for sensitivity again. Those who did not have a reaction were considered sustained unresponsiveness (SU). After completing eOIT, concentrated egg (scrambled, fried or boiled egg) and/or baked egg (eggs incorporated into something like a cake) were recommended to be added into the patients’ diet. For five years following the allergy treatment, patients were asked to report how much egg they ate, in what form they ate it, how often they ate it and how they felt afterward.

At the end of eOIT, 50 per cent of patients were classified with SU, 28 per cent of patients were classified as desensitised (without SU) and 22 per cent as not desensitised. Of SU-classified patients, 100 per cent were able to eat both baked and concentrated egg.

The study found that desensitised, not desensitised, and placebo groups had more variable ingestion of baked and concentrated egg and had more chance of symptoms from ingestion.

Speaking about it, Kim said, “These results further support the effectiveness of eOIT as a safe way of desensitising children and youth with egg allergy”>egg allergy,” adding, “Past research also suggests that eating egg may actually shorten the amount of time a patient has the allergy, so any amount of egg that is incorporated into an allergy patient’s diet is helpful.”