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Whooping cough vaccine from the turn of the century could be a cure for food allergies

Whooping cough vaccine from the turn of the century could be a cure for food allergies with shocking research showing cases more than DOUBLED after it was phased out

  • Rates of kids with food allergies have risen substantially since 1999
  • Spike came after an older ‘whole cell’ vaccine was phased out that year
  • Researchers tested if the original vaccine could prevent food allergies in kids
  • Scientists still urged parents to get kids immunised against whooping cough

A whooping cough vaccine that was phased out in the late 1990s could hold the cure to food allergies, a new study has found.  

The number of Australian children with food allergies has more than doubled since 1999 – around the same time the older ‘whole cell’ immunisation was replaced with the current whooping cough vaccine. 

Experts from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found the number of cases then skyrocketed by a further 50 per cent between 2005 and 2012.

The alarming statistics prompted Australian researchers to examine whether the original ‘whole cell’ vaccine could actually prevent kids from getting food allergies. 

The number of kids with food allergies has risen substantially since 1999 - around the same time it was replaced with a new whooping cough vaccine

The number of kids with food allergies has risen substantially since 1999 – around the same time it was replaced with a new whooping cough vaccine

Lead researcher Professor Tom Snelling said both vaccines prevent the deadly respiratory infection, but the old one has the additional benefit of reducing allergies in children

Lead researcher Professor Tom Snelling said both vaccines prevent the deadly respiratory infection, but the old one has the additional benefit of reducing allergies in children

Experts researched the cases of more than 500 children who had been diognosed with serious food allergies over the past two decades. 

The study found the kids who were given at least one dose of the original whole cell vaccine in the late 1990s were 23 per cent less likely to suffer from food allergies.   

Despite the breakthrough, scientists still urged parents to get their kids immunised against whooping cough.

Lead researcher Professor Tom Snelling said both vaccines prevent the deadly respiratory infection, but the old one has the additional benefit of reducing allergies in kids. 

‘These allergies occur when the immune system reacts to everyday substances such as different types of food,’ Professor Snelling told The Age. 

‘We believe that by harmlessly mimicking infections, some vaccines such as the whole-cell whooping cough vaccine have the potential to help steer the immune system away from developing allergic reactions.

‘[We believe] a single initial dose of the whole cell vaccine might have the additional benefit of partially protecting young babies against developing life-threatening food allergies.’

Paediatric immunologist Richard Loh said the results were promising, but further tests were needed to determine why 10 per cent of all Australian infants are diagnosed with food allergies.  

Food allergies in Australians

The number of children with a food allergy or food-related immune disorder has increased dramatically in the last 10 years

Food allergy symptoms can be mild, such as hives or swelling, or severe and effect breathing

Melbourne has the highest rate of children with food allergies, about 7,000 babies develop symptoms every year

The most common triggers are egg, cow’s milk, peanut, tree nuts, sesame, soy, fish, shellfish, and wheat. 

Source: Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

 

 

 

 

 

 

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