Researchers at Duke University recently have completed a multi-year study of oral desensitization for egg allergy. They studied 55 children between five and eleven years of age with severe egg allergy.
Forty children were randomized to receive the oral vaccine while 15 received a placebo vaccine.
After 22 months of daily vaccine intake, all 55 children underwent a food challenge with egg. One-hundred percent of the placebo-treated children had an allergic reaction to the egg challenge; only 25 percent of the vaccine-treated children reacted allergically.
The vaccine therapy was discontinued after 22 months. Two months later the 40 children who received the true vaccine were re-challenged with egg. Of the children who had negative challenges at 22 months, half had a reappearance of their allergy. The children who were able to eat the egg challenge with no reaction, however, remained free of symptoms at 30 and 36 months. That is, they had a permanent resolution of the allergy that persisted even off the vaccine.