ZURICH (CBS Local) — If you love cats but are allergic to them, a team of scientists in Switzerland could have the purrfect solution for you.
HypoPet AG, a Swiss-based company, announced it has developed a vaccine called HypoCat that works by “immunizing cats against their own major allergen, Fel d 1.” It’s found in cat dander, and about 10 percent of humans are allergic to it, according to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
“Our HypoCat vaccine is able to produce high levels of antibodies in cats,” HypoPet AG CEO Gary Jennings wrote in a statement. “These antibodies can bind and neutralize the Fel d 1 allergen produced by the animals.”
In other words, the cat would be administered the vaccine, not their allergic owner.
News for patients with cat allergy: A study provides evidence that cat vaccination against the major cat allergen Fe1 d 1 can reduce Fel d 1 level in cat secretions and potentially minimize its ability to cause a human allergic response. https://t.co/0QhH4kJ33M
— Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (@jacionline) August 8, 2019
Researchers collected the data from four separate studies that involved a total of 54 cats.
The vaccine was “well tolerated without any overt toxicity,” according to a company press release, and does not appear to cause serious or long-term side effects in cats.
The Fel d 1 protein doesn’t have a crucial function in cats as far as we know, Gizmodo reported. In fact, some cats are already naturally very low in the protein without any apparent health problems. And in any case, the vaccine doesn’t completely eliminate Fel d 1.
Researchers say they are “pressing ahead with registration studies and discussions with European and U.S regulators with the hope of bringing this much-needed product to the market.”
“If all goes as planned then we hope to reach the market in 2022,” Jennings told Gizmodo.