A team of scientists in Switzerland have created a potential vaccine that makes cats less able to cause allergies. HypoPet AG, a Swiss-based company, announced it is working on an experimental vaccine called HypoCat that targets a feline allergen that nearly 10 percent of the Western population is allergic to. The results of the study has been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology,
The vaccine is different from other existing immunotherapies. Instead of trying to desensitize the immune system of people allergic to cats, it attempts to train the immune system of cats to go after a specific protein, or allergen, that they naturally produce. By reducing the amount of this protein, the vaccine would basically turn cats hypoallergenic.
Researchers collected the data from four separate studies that involved a total of 54 cats dosed with the vaccine, administered via a shot to their hind legs. They reported that all the cats developed a sustained immune response to the allergen. In the latest experiment, some cats also got a booster shot six months after the original treatment period. The booster shot was found to help keep antibody levels high.
The study showed that the cats produced less of the allergen in their saliva and tears after the treatment regimen was completed. When the samples were mixed with blood taken from human patients with a cat allergy, they caused less of an allergic reaction. The vaccine doesn’t completely eliminate the allergen, which doesn’t appear to have a crucial function in cats, and the researchers say that the vaccine was “well-tolerated without any overt toxicity.”
HypoPet CEO Gary Jennings says that the company has already started to conduct clinical trials and lay the groundwork for mass production. “We 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,” Jennings continued. A finished product won’t be available at least until 2022. The company also has similar vaccine for dogs, called HypoDog, in development.