A group of scientists is working on the first oral treatment for peanut allergies — and they are close.

A group of scientists at the Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research Laboratory in New Orleans has created an oral immunotherapy drug to desensitize patients to allergic reactions from peanuts. The drug, which has passed Phase 3 clinical trials, comes in capsules that contain specific amounts of peanut powder. Patients gradually take pills with more peanut powder to develop resistance until they can tolerate 300 milligrams or one peanut. 

According to Food Allergy Research and Education, a private funder of food allergy research, about 6.1 million people living in the U.S. had a peanut allergy in 2019. Peanut allergies are one of the most common types of allergies and can cause severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.

The therapy developed in the laboratory only works for peanut allergies. The drug will need to be given final approval by the Food and Drug Administration before it can be used by the general public. 

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