KUALA LUMPUR, August 16 — Swiss scientists have developed an experimental vaccine which cause cats to be less capable of causing allergies. The drug is able to reduce the amount of a particular allergens naturally by felines.
It does not attempt the conventional immunotherapy approach by desensitizing the immune system of individuals who are allergic to cats. Instead, the vaccine stimulates the feline immune system to go after Fel d 1, an allergen produced by cats. Around 90 per cent of people who are allergic to cats, produce antibodies to Fel d 1.
Reducing the amount of this allergen produced by cats in their saliva and tears, makes them hypoallergenic.
The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, vaccinated more than 50 young cats over a period of nine weeks and some were given a booster shot several months later. All the cats had a sustained immune response to Fel d 1, producing antibodies which seem to neutralise the allergen.
When tested, the samples were found to produce a much lower allergic reaction in human patients.
The vaccine appears to not cause any serious or long-term adverse effects in the cats.
The vaccine, which is currently at the pre-clinical stage, is being developed by Swiss-based Hypocat. A finished product will not be available at least until 2022.
A similar vaccine for dogs is also under development though still far from being tested.