Many of us love cats. There can be noting better than cuddling a Furball in your hands. But, some of us are not lucky to do this as they are allergic to cats. They can cause many situations ranging from mere sniffles to emergency medical situations.
But some people are dying to cuddle a cat despite the obvious allergies and for them, there has been an ongoing discussion on breeding or even genetically modifying cats into a hypoallergenic version of themselves. However, a team of researchers has now solved the problem differently. They’ve created a vaccine for cat allergens.
Image credits: thelittleone417
This vaccine is made for cats. It targets proteins Fel d 1, which is the major of the five allergenic substances cats produce. The substance is produced in the cat’s saliva and sebaceous glands, though we are not sure what’s its function is. Around 10 percent of the Western population is allergic to this particular protein.
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology says that researchers working for and with the company, HypoPet has successfully tested that vaccine in 54 different cats throughout four different studies. The team reports that the vaccine was effective in reducing Fel d 1 in the treated cats. More importantly, it was well tolerated by the cats and had no overt toxic effects on them.
“Both human subjects and animals could profit from this treatment because allergic cat owners would reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases, such as asthma, and become more tolerant of their cats, which therefore could stay in the households and not need to be relinquished to animal shelters,” the researcher writes in the paper.
The team combined a cucumber mosaic virus and the Fel d 1 molecule, which produces an immune response from the cats. After the vaccine, the cats’ immune systems automatically destroyed the molecules, and the tested cats were less allergenic to humans compared to regular cats.
Dr. Gary Jennings, CEO of HypoPet AG said in a statement that “We are very pleased to publish this data which shows our HypoCat vaccine can produce high levels of antibodies in cats, and that these antibodies can bind and neutralize the Fel d 1 allergen produced by the animals,”.
Allergies to cats from cat owners, their families, partners, and friends is a leading cause of pet cat abandonment. In the US alone, 3.4 million cats are abandoned annually to animal shelters, with an estimated two-fifths of them euthanized. Cats are also abandoned in the wild and in cities, which creates a bigger impact on the ecosystem. Cats may be domesticated but they are still furry predators, incredible killing machines, and they can cause havoc to native fauna. A way of reducing cat abandonment means everyone’s a winner.
So, now you need not worry further about not being able to cuddle your cat!