Plenty of people choose to live a gluten-free lifestyle by choice, but for the 1 in 100 people worldwide who have celiac disease, avoiding bread, pasta, and other foods containing the problematic proteins is a must; it’s crucial to their health and wellbeing. If someone with the autoimmune disease accidentally eats gluten, their body becomes inflamed and they experience a reaction to the protein that involves everything from bloating and diarrhea to damage to the small intestine. Good news, though: There’s a new vaccine that could stop those problems for good.
According to People, the vaccine—called Nexvax2—has the ability to combat that harmful inflammation by directly targeting the immune system of those who suffer from celiac. Since there’s no treatment for the disease, this would enable them to slowly build up an immunity to gluten, allowing them to eventually eat it again. “The vaccine is designed to target the 90 percent of celiac disease patients with the HLA-DQ2 genetic form of disease. A successful therapy that can restore normal gluten tolerance would revolutionize celiac disease management,” head researcher Jason Tye-Din, PhD, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Right now, researchers are preparing for Nexvax2 to enter its clinical testing phase in Australia, where it will be used on 150 patients from around the world—United States, included. Hopefully it won’t be long before the vaccine can be given to the masses so gluten allergies don’t stop anyone from living their best lives. Because even celiacs can admit…gluten-free bagels just aren’t quite the same.