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Scientists have developed a vaccine against cat allergies, which you may not yet have



People unfairly kept away from cats for allergy are looking forward to this week, after the news re-emerges that a potential vaccine makes cats less able to trigger allergies. Although this research is promising, a finished product will not be available soon.

The vaccine in question is developed by Hypocat from Switzerland and is the company's leading experimental and eponymous drug. In April of this year, Hypocat published results of a study on the vaccine. And it is this news that the Internet is getting excited again for reasons lost through the void.

The study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology describes a very clever strategy for fighting catallergy.

] The vaccine does not try to desensitize the immune system of cat allergy sufferers as it does with other existing immunotherapies such as allergy shots. Rather, an attempt is made to train the immune system of cats to look for a particular protein or allergen that they naturally produce, termed Fel d 1

. This trick is to be achieved by attaching a genetically engineered version of the protein to a virus-like protein. Particles derived from a plant virus (only particles that can not cause disease).

About 90 percent of people with allergy to cats produce antibodies against Fel d 1. If successful, the vaccine would basically be

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In the study, the vaccine seemed to do just that. In various experiments, more than 50 young cats were given the vaccine, which was administered via a shot on the hind legs. In the last experiment, cats received three doses for nine weeks; Some cats also got a booster vaccine half a year later.

All cats, they reported, developed a sustained immune response to the allergen, and the booster shot helped keep the level of antibody high. Antibodies from the blood of the cats also appeared to neutralize Fel d 1 in the laboratory, while the cats themselves produced less Fel d 1 in the saliva and in the tears. And when these cat samples were mixed with blood from real human patients with a cat allergy, they caused less allergic reactions.

Especially for animal lovers, the vaccine did not seem to have any serious or long-term side effects on the cats. A probable reason for this is that Fel d 1, as far as we know, has no crucial function in cats. Some cats are by nature very poor in Fel d 1, with no apparent health problems. The vaccine also does not completely eliminate the protein.

This is exciting news, but it is also very early "preclinical" data. The company announced that it had held discussions with both US and European drug regulatory agencies and had begun to lay the foundations for mass production and human clinical trials. But even if these trials started today and the vaccine passed them brilliantly, you will have to wait years to get it to market. A similar dog vaccine developed by the company, called Hypodog, is even further back in the pipeline. Just know you have to be patient for a while.


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