You may have seen in the news recently a lot of stories about a new ‘cheaper and easier’ test that can identify peanut allergies.
This is about collaborative research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that assessed a new diagnostic tool known as Mass Cell Activation tests (MAT).
The test looks for biomarkers released by mast cells, or white blood cells which form part of the immune system, and made a correct diagnosis of peanut allergy 98% of the time in a study involving 174 children.
Dr Alexandra Santos, of Kings College London said:
“The current tests are not ideal. If we relied on them alone, we’d be over-diagnosing food allergies. Only 22% of school-age children in the UK with a positive test to peanuts are allergic when they’re fed food in a monitored setting”.
However, our helpline and information team think it is important to point out that this paper reports the initial validation and assessment of the new diagnostic tool and whilst this is promising it is unlikely to be used clinically in the near future.
You can read more in a Guardian article here.
Read our knowledgebase article about current allergy testing methods here.
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