It's been estimated that up to 10% of humans have an allergy to cats, but if my math is correct 99% of people love cats. Okay, only one of those statistics is backed by science but 10% of the population is pretty high and we've all met people who love cats but are allergic despite their devotion to the animals. While there are some hybrid breeds of cats that are hypoallergenic or at least not problematic to even the worst of allergic reactions, they're often paired with a big price tag. Thousands of adoptable pass in and out of shelters every day across the globe, how many lives could be saved if there was a way to prevent cat allergies?
Well, we might be fixing to find out because scientists have developed a "vaccine" for cats that could stop any of you from being allergic to them!
Researchers at the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland recently published their study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The published report details their "HypoCat Vaccine."
In an interview with Bored Panda, Martin Bachmann, one of the researchers who made the cat ‘vaccine’ pawssible, said:
We have been working on this project for more than five years. Cat allergy is a big problem and very hard on cat owners with an allergy. So our approach could have important implications.
We can’t say an exact price at this point but it’s definitely going to be affordable for pet owners and in-line with other veterinary products.
Proving the safety of vaccines, even for pets, is no small task, and when asked about the sample size for testing the cat allergy injection, Bachmann said:
We feel the numbers and conclusions are sufficient to drive our investment in further development. This is also reflected by the fact that JACI the Nr 1 allergy journal, published our study. In 2020, more safety and efficacy testing studies will be initiated.
What could have motivated such devotion to something that effects only 10% of the population? Bachmann revealed:
Both the CEO and Chairman have cats. For what it’s worth the latter is allergic and vaccinated his animals and swears it works — not sure if we can eliminate his bias though.
Bias aside, Bachmann also suggested in the interview that the research team is “initiating” work on a ‘vaccine’ for dogs to also produce fewer allergens.
To understand how the allergy vaccine works, it helps to understand a little bit about how cat allergies work, too. Cats produce the protein Fel d 1, which is one of five allergenic substances that cats produce. As previously mentioned, 10% (or 1 in 10 humans) are allergic to this protein. It's like the opposite of winning the lottery.
While this news is incredibly exciting, there is still a lot of work to be done. It's adventurous to assert the vaccine could be available within the next 3 years. There is a lot of work to be done ensuring the safety of the vaccine before we can produce it in quantities that could bring more cats into more forever homes.
We are totally rooting for the Swiss researchers if it means more cats get adopted. Let us know in the comments what you think about this "vaccine," and if you know anyone who might benefit from such an awesome scientific advancement, let them know what's going on!
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