Children can be protected from the dangerous effects of peanut allergy by slowly building up their tolerance, research has shown.
After six months of the therapy, up to 90pc of allergic children taking part in a study could safely eat five peanuts a day.
Peanut allergy, which affects one in 50 children, can lead to anaphylactic shock – a potentially fatal immune reaction.
The STOP II trial involved 99 young people aged seven to 16 consuming carefully measured doses of peanut protein.
Over a period of four to six months, the dose was gradually increased until their bodies could cope with the equivalent of five whole peanuts. By the end of the study, between 84pc and 91pc of the participants could safely tolerate 800 milligrams of peanut protein a day.