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NUH recruiting participants to trial treatment for potentially life-threatening egg allergy

SINGAPORE — The National University Hospital (NUH) is looking for participants, aged five to 30 who are allergic to eggs, to take part in a study which could eventually allow people with a life-threatening egg allergy to safely consume them.

NUH said on Friday (Nov 22) that eggs are the third most common food-triggered cause of the potentially fatal anaphylaxis allergic reaction among adults in Singapore.

NUH said on Friday (Nov 22) that eggs are the third most common food-triggered cause of the potentially fatal anaphylaxis allergic reaction among adults in Singapore.

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SINGAPORE — The National University Hospital (NUH) is looking for participants, aged five to 30 who are allergic to eggs, to take part in a study which could eventually allow people with a life-threatening egg allergy to safely consume them.

In a statement on Friday (Nov 22), NUH said egg allergy was the third most common cause of food-triggered anaphylaxis among adults in Singapore, after peanuts and shellfish. Egg allergy is the most common food allergy among Singaporean children under three, it added.

A person is less likely to outgrow an allergy if it is still there in later childhood, NUH said.

NUH will work on the clinical trial with Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institution to investigate a form of treatment for egg allergy.

The 40 participants will be randomly allocated into one of the two groups: Active and placebo groups.

The active group will receive probiotics, often called healthy bacteria which can be found in yoghurt, and egg oral immunotherapy, which is a treatment where small amounts of allergenic food are consumed in increasing amounts.

The placebo group will not receive any active ingredients and neither family nor doctors will know which group patients have been allocated to.

Some participants have already begun the trial as the recruitment for participants has commenced. There is no fixed starting and ending point for participants in the study, which will span 20 months, with a treatment period of 18 months.

The eventual aim is to help people with egg allergy safely consume eggs without fear of allergic reactions, or sustained unresponsiveness towards the allergen.

Professor Mimi Tang, the principal investigator at Murdoch Children’s Research Institution, found that probiotic and peanut immunotherapy treatment had induced long-lasting effects against the allergy. This study was conducted in Australia.

The study team, together with doctors in NUH, are now extending this treatment approach to eggs.

Doctors believe that the combined probiotic food immunotherapy approach could be effective for the treatment of other allergies like egg allergy.

Dr Lydia Wong, lead principal investigator for the study and associate consultant from the NUH’s division of paediatric allergy, immunology and rheumatology, said: “The longer it takes to outgrow the allergy, the more prolonged the constraints on daily life for an egg-allergic person and caregivers.

“This can significantly impair the quality of life for those with egg allergy and their family because total avoidance is close to impossible.”

NUH cited a study of national service pre-enlistees who were checked for food allergies. It found that 4.3 per cent reported anaphylactic reactions from eggs.

In the worst cases of anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction can be sparked within seconds of consuming the trigger food, resulting in potentially life-threatening symptoms including throat and tongue swelling, shortness of breath and vomiting.

Related topics

allergy NUH medical research egg

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