Infectious Disease

Introducing allergenic foods early remains the main pathway for prevention

Source/Disclosures

sources:

Togias A, et al. Keynote: Prevention of Food Allergy. Presented at: Global Food Allergy Prevention Summit; July 7-9, 2023; Chicago.

Disclosures:
Togias reports being employed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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Key takeaways:

  • Future research should identify the optimal timing of early introduction, as well as dosing and duration.
  • Early introduction may not be the only solution for prevention.

CHICAGO — Currently, the future of allergy prevention lies in early introduction of allergenic foods, according to the keynote presenter at the Global Food Allergy Prevention Summit.

“We now know that early intervention will last into adolescence,” Alkis Togias, MD, branch chief at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during the presentation. “I think we have a very clear path that we can go after in terms of reducing the prevalence of food allergy and prevention.”

Introducing allergens into infant diets early can provide protection that lasts into adolescence, according to Alkis Togias, MD. Image: Adobe Stock

The next immediate steps include refining the optimal timing of early introduction, the dose and the duration. Further, Togias said there is a need to simplify regimens, which may be achieved through product development.

Alkis Togias

All of this must be addressed in order to implement guidelines and improve health care provider training and parent support, Togias said.

“We also have to think about the fact that early introduction may not be the only approach to the prevention of food allergy,” he added.

For example, the skin barrier can be a major risk factor to allergens. Togias also suggested researchers to explore how allergenic food introduction during pregnancy with and without lactation impacts reactions, as well as microbiome-targeting interventions. Real-world studies that improve feasibility and determine the means of immune and clinical tolerance are needed.

“We always want to understand the mechanism of the disease,” Togias said. “That is the future.”

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