Good News Allergy Sufferers, The World’s first Cat Allergy Vaccine Is Coming Soon
I have a cat allergy that’s so sensitive that I have to load up on Claritin or Allegra before going to any house with a feline resident.
Sometimes, if it’s a new place and they have a cat, I can sense its presence before even seeing the animal. My head will get a little fuzzy, I’ll feel slightly drowsy, and my nose will start to run.
If I sleep in a house with a cat without taking any allergy medicine, I will wake up with eyes that are so swollen and puffy, I look like I went around with Mike Tyson.
I’m so sensitive to cats that I once went to a bar with a friend and there were no cats in the building and I had a massive allergic reaction. Why? My friend was wearing a hoodie his cat slept on the night before.
A quarter of American homes have cats and, if you have an allergy, you don’t want to step foot in any of them unless you’ve got your medicine on you.
Cat allergies aren’t just uncomfortable, they can have serious consequences. Cat dander can cause asthma in children, a condition that, in extreme circumstances, can be fatal.
That’s why a new development out of Switzerland is a godsend to the 10% of Americans that have a cat allergy. It’s also great for cats, too.
A Swiss company called HypoPet has developed a vaccine that produces antibodies in cats that neutralize the allergens they produce. It was developed by a network of researchers at the veterinary school at the University of Zürich, the Functional Genomics Center Zürich, and the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre.
The preclinical data was published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology’s July 2019 issue.
After the vaccine is administered to the cat, it stops the production of Fel d 1, an allergen produced in its anal glands, sebaceous glands, fur, skin, and saliva.
“We are very pleased to publish this data which shows our HypoCat™ vaccine is able to produce high levels of antibodies in cats and that these antibodies can bind and neutralize the Fel d 1 allergen produced by the animals,” Dr. Gary Jennings, HypoPet CE, said in a press release.
Cats treated with the vaccine were less likely to trigger allergic reactions in humans. The vaccine was administered to 54 cats and the test subjects tolerated the vaccine without “any overt toxicity.”
The vaccine is great news for humans with allergies, but it’s also good for the feline population.
According to HypoCat, allergies “suffered by owners, friends and relatives is a leading cause of cat abandonment.” Hopes are that the vaccine will reduce the number of cats that are abandoned or taken to shelters because their owners have a new child, roommate or spouse who’s allergic.
Of the 3.4 million cats are abandoned each year in the U.S., 1.4 million are euthanized. HypoCat says that allergy is “a leading reason for abandonment of cats into urban and native environments.”
What happens next? Researchers are “pressing ahead with registration studies and discussions with European and US regulators with the hope of bringing this much-needed product to the market.”
Meanwhile, allergy sufferers are counting the days ‘til they can ditch their Claritin and possibly adopt a cat of their own.
Photo credit: Pixabay.