As a parent, it’s only a matter of time before your kid begs you for a pet. It’s just going to happen, ok?! But all too often, allergies stand in the way. In fact, as many as three in 10 people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies, preventing a lot of families from bringing a feline friend into their homes. But thanks to a new cat vaccine just may be the answer for sniffly parents who desperately want to give their kid a cat.
Scientists at Swiss company HypoPet have been developing a vaccine that may actually reduce the allergic impact of cats. Multiple clinical trials involving more than 50 cats have shown that vaccinating cats results in higher levels of the antibodies that, essentially, prevent the sniffles. “HypoPet’s lead project HypoCat™, is a vaccine to lower the allergenicity experienced by humans towards cats,” reads a statement from HypoPet. “Fel d 1, a cat protein secreted into saliva and tears and found on the pelt, is the principal allergen to which cat allergy sufferers react. It is known that decreasing exposure of allergic humans to Fel d 1 has a significant benefit on symptoms and health.”
Among these benefits are reducing the risk of childhood asthma for kids, as well as a reduction in the number of cats abandoned every year. “Allergy is also a leading reason for the abandonment of cats into urban and native environments,” HypoPet’s statement reads. “In addition to the suffering experienced by the abandoned animals, problems are created for native fauna through predation.”
Basically, it’s a win-win for both cats and their owners. Dr. Gary Jennings, CEO of HypoPet AG, is hopeful that the HypoCat vaccine will hit the U.S. market soon, as are allergy sufferers everywhere.