Cow milk allergy is one of the most common food allergies and can lead to a variety of clinical symptoms affecting the respiratory, GI, GU, and dermatologic systems. It can even occur in infants who are exclusively nursed if their mothers are ingesting cow milk.
Because of the frequency and potential severity of the allergy there has been great effort to find a vaccine for cow milk allergy. Recently, researches at Johns Hopkins University publicized the results of their work on a milk vaccine for children. They studied sublingual (under the tongue), and oral (swallowed) vaccines.
Just as is the case with allergy shots, the procedure uses a regimen of gradually increasing doses of the allergic item (allergen). The maintenance dose was different for the two methods; 7 mg. for the sublingual vaccine and 2,000 mg. for the oral vaccine.
The oral vaccine was more effective, with 50 percent of the children being desensitized; compared to only 10 percent in the sublingual group.
However, there were more allergic side effects during the build-up of the oral vaccine than with the sublingual vaccine.
The children that were successfully desensitized were able to safely consume cow milk without their original allergy response. Unfortunately, if the vaccine was stopped, the allergic condition quickly returned, which was a source for mild pessimism by the Johns Hopkins researchers.