Vaccine For Cat Allergies Developed

Cats are one of the most popular pets and a vaccine for allergies they cause could benefit many people.

Hannah M.

Cats are one of the most popular pets and a vaccine for allergies they cause could benefit many people.

Over a billion people worldwide have an allergy to cats. Cat allergies affect more people than any other animal-related allergy and those affected may experience a combination of coughing, sneezing, teary or itchy eyes, and irritated skin. Despite this, one-third of those with cat allergies keep cats in their house. The bond that the cats and humans share are inseparable, even though some owners have to deal with the annoyance that cat allergies bring. As of April 2019, there is hope for cat lovers who hate their allergies – a vaccine that relieves the effects of allergies. 

Swiss company HypoPet AG announced the vaccination on April 17, 2019. The company had its start in 2013 as a branch of the University of Zürich Switzerland. After receiving a grant for their cat research, the company began to develop a vaccine that would make cats hypoallergenic. After six years, the cat vaccine was released to the public.

The vaccine works by eliminating the Fel d 1 protein which is produced in a cat’s saliva. The Fel d 1 protein is the cause of cat allergies. When a cat grooms itself with its tongue, the allergen is spread on its fur and skin and is eventually released into the cat’s surrounding environment. The vaccine releases specific proteins that boost the cat’s levels of special antibodies that will neutralize the cat’s level of Fel d 1.

These special antibodies can be produced artificially in a laboratory and injected into cats, but the use of the vaccine allows the cat to naturally produce them which is more efficient. The use of these laboratory-produced antibodies, called monoclonal antibodies, requires 6-12 injections a year while the natural vaccines take only 2-3. Because of this, the vaccine is cheaper compared to the monoclonal antibodies.

After being injected with the vaccine, tested cats had fewer levels of Fel d 1 present in their saliva. When these cats were presented to allergic humans, allergic reactions ranged from a less intense reaction to being completely eliminated. 

What is next for HypoPet? Shortly after the creation of HypoCat, the cat vaccine, the company released the dog counterpart using the same principles – HypoDog. The company is also working towards finding cures for common pet illnesses, including canine skin disease and pet joint deterioration. HypoPet’s goal is to “sustain and strengthen the timeless and loving bond between humans and their beloved animals.” Leading the way in veterinary medicine, HypoPet has reached and exceeded its goal.