Swiss scientists have developed a vaccine for cats that could protect animal lovers allergic to them.
The Swiss-based company, HypoPet AG, said its newly developed vaccine called HypoCat works by “immunizing cats against their own major allergen, Fel d 1,” an allergen found in cat dander. A report by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology said ten percent of humans are allergic to this particular dander.
HypoPet AG CEO Gary Jennings said the vaccine produces high levels of antibodies in the cat, adding that “these antibodies can bind and neutralize the Fel d 1 allergen produced by the animals.”
“The vaccine would help those with cat allergies avoid typical reactions such as rashes, nasal congestion and irritated eyes, while also lowering their risk of exacerbating asthma or developing chronic respiratory issues,” the New York Post reported.
Jennings said the company is working with European and U.S. regulators “with the hope of bringing this much-needed product to the market.”
In a press release, HypoPet wrote that human cat allergies are one of the top reasons why people take their cats to a shelter or abandon them entirely.
The press release read:
Nevertheless, allergy suffered by owners, friends & relatives is a leading cause of cat abandonment. Sadly, of the 3.4 million cats abandoned annually to U.S cat shelters, approximately 1.4 million of these animals are euthanized. Allergy is also a leading reason for abandonment of cats into urban and native environments.
HypoPet added that by lowering the “allergenicity of the pet itself,” cat lovers would avoid the difficulty of being forced to give up their pet altogether.
“To achieve this goal HypoPet is leveraging its innovative virus-like particle vaccine technology as a means for safely reducing the allergenicity of pets,” the statement said.
Reports said that so far, the company has not seen any long-term or serious side effects in the cats tested. This is due to the fact that cats are already naturally low in Fel d 1, and the protein does not perform any vital function inside the animals themselves.
If all goes according to plan, Jennings said HypoPet hopes to have the vaccine on the market by 2022.