Of all allergies, a couple stand out for the impact they have on the wider population. Cows’ milk protein allergy is very common amongst babies and young children – up to 3% of this age group can experience this particular allergy. Peanut allergy, meanwhile, is also very widespread and is notable for sometimes triggering quite severe anaphylactic shock – in fact, hundreds of people die every year from anaphylaxis caused by eating food containing peanuts. The DBV-Technologies website, http://www.dbv-technologies.com/en, looks at the techniques this company has been working on to solve these issues, techniques such as the Viaskin peanut patch.
This adhesive patch is coated with a layer of antigens, sprayed using electrospray technology (see below). This sends an electrostatically-charged stream of compounds onto the patch surface, coating it evenly. This layer of compounds dries, until the ‘condensation chamber’ formed between the patch and the skin upon application of the patch re-solubilizes it. The antigens can then enter the body, going into the Langerhans cells, rather than directly into the bloodstream. This begins the process of increasing the body’s tolerance to these antigens, be they cows’ milk protein, peanut, egg or house dust mite.