As the proud owner of five cats, I can’t imagine a world in which I couldn’t pet and play with my four-legged friends every single day. But for some people with bad allergies, missing out on purrs and snuggles is just a part of life. Thankfully, the struggle may be in the rearview mirror for allergic cat-lovers thanks to a new vaccine. According to a July 2019 study in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers at University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, are developing a brand-new vaccine called HyopCat, which treats Fel d 1 — or the “major cat allergen” — that affects 10 percent of the Western world.
Although more research on the vaccine needs to be completed, this news gives hope to individuals who are forced to love felines from afar. So how exactly does it work? In short, a cat gets injected with a vaccine that lowers the amount of Fel d 1 present in their fur, making humans less allergic. So far, the vaccine has been “tolerated well” and hasn’t had an “overt toxic effect” in test subjects.
Scientists involved in the study say that the vaccine could benefit both people and cats alike. “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,” explained researchers.
Fingers crossed that the new vaccine, if successful, will get even more needy kitties out of shelters and placed in happy homes!