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January 28, 2015 11:15 AM EST

Researchers say they are one step closer to finding a cure for people with severe peanut allergies.

Around 80% of a group of 30 children had no allergic reaction to peanuts after scientists gave them a daily combination of peanut protein and a probiotic in increasing amounts over an 18-month period, according to a new study announced Wednesday.

The probiotic, bacteria useful in fighting disease, deployed by the Melbourne, Australia-based Murdoch Childrens Research Institute was Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Its dosage in the study was the equivalent of eating 20 kg of yogurt a day.

“Many of the children and families believe it has changed their lives, they’re very happy, they feel relieved,” lead researcher Mimi Tang told the Guardian. “These findings provide the first vital step towards developing a cure for peanut allergy and possibly other food allergies.”

Tang cautioned against attempting the study at home, as some children in the study did still have serious allergic reactions. A follow-up study will test whether the peanut tolerance continues in the future.

[The Guardian]

Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan.feeney@time.com.

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