Curing an allergic reaction to the domestic cat is the holy grail of commercial enterprise in the world of pets. If a business can figure out a way to prevent people from being allergic to cats, who would otherwise be allergic, then a lot of money could be made. It is estimated that the market for a vaccination for cats which neutralises the allergen produced by the cat (Fel D1) would be worth £250,000,000 in the UK. You can only imagine what the business would be worth in the United States; gazillions of dollars could be earned and that is why I call this the holy grail of commercial enterprises within the world of pets which is already a thriving business worth billions of dollars.
There are two ways to tackle a person’s allergy to cats. You can either give an injection to the person which reduces or eliminates that person’s allergy to any cat or you can give an injection to a cat which neutralises the allergen that he or she creates and which is released from the cat via the cat’s saliva or sebaceous glands in the skin.
A little while ago Jo Singer wrote about a new drug designed to boost a person’s immune system thereby limiting the person’s allergic reaction to cats.
The new drug, which appears to be in development in the USA, is called Catpad. It has been described as a breakthrough drug which requires far fewer injections than the conventional course of injections.
Today, September 2, 2014, I read in the Daily Mail that a business which calls itself Benchmark, based in Sheffield, UK, are hoping to commercialize an injection that can neutralise the cat’s allergen which causes so much distress amongst an approximate 10% of the population of any country and there are many cat lovers amongst that percentage who would dearly love to look after a cat.
The injection works by attacking the well-known protein Fel D1. This new injection is called HypoCat. The research into this new drug is being carried out by a Swiss-based business called HypoPet. Benchmark is spending up to £8,000,000 to commercialise the research.
It goes without saying that the proposed injection should be harmless to the cat or have no side-effects. It is said that the Fel D1 allergen, a protein, is not needed by the cat and therefore removing it or neutralizing it will have no detrimental effect on the cat.
The bad news is that this is work in progress and people suffering from an allergy to cats can only hope that within about 3 or 4 years the drug will be available to the general public.
You could almost sense the desperate desire by businesses to find a magical, silver bullet, solution to this long-standing and irritating problem that presents itself to many cat lovers; their allergy to the domestic cat.
The other, well-known, now discredited method of overcoming a person’s allergy to domestic cats is to breed (through selective breeding) a cat that does not produce the allergen and these cats are called Allerca cats. The company behind Allerca cats are LifeStyle Pets. There has been lots of negative publicity about this company and it is widely believed that it is a sham.
In the meantime, the long-suffering cat lover who is allergic to cats will have to fall back on the usual preventative measures which only minimise the discomfort caused by being in the presence of, or even in the same home as, a domestic cat because cat dander which flies off the cat can end up being anywhere in the home and settling on any object making it quite difficult to avoid an allergic reaction.