Australia has a food allergy crisis impacting 10 per cent of infants, but there is critical research underway

Sunday, April 21, 2024 - 9:00 AM

Professor Kirsten Perrett, National Allergy Centre of Excellence and Centre for Food Allergy Research Director, tells ABC News about Australia's growing food allergy rates, and how the NACE is helping fast-track the start-up of national allergy trials.


Allergic disease is one of Australia’s greatest public health challenges, with one in 10 children developing a proven food allergy in their first year of life.

The most common in the first 12 months is egg, but generally it is outgrown by six-years-old.

However, three quarters of those with an allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame and seafood, carry the allergy into adulthood.

The exact cause in the rise of Australia's food allergy is still unknown.

Placed under the spotlight in a 2019 bipartisan parliamentary inquiry, 24 recommendations were made to address the critical need for a national action plan.

In 2022, federal government funding saw the establishment of the National Allergy Centre of Excellence (NACE) and the National Allergy Council.

The NACE, now the country's peak allergy research body, will help accelerate research and streamline the start-up of clinical trials across the country.

The Murdoch Children's Research Institute, which hosts the NACE, has become the lead site for several allergy trials, and Professor Kirsten Perrett is the principal investigator on eight.

"For the first time we have an Australian allergy research body, bringing together experts in drug, food, insect and respiratory allergic disease to address this national critical problem," Professor Perrett says.

"This is a critical step forward in our fight against all aspects of allergic disease.

"The clinical trials network helps to give Australian families faster access to emerging treatment options, many of which are already under investigation overseas."

Read the full story on ABC News

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Read the Explainer article on food allergies on ABC News

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