Tag: cat allergies

That Cat Allergy Vaccine Isn’t Such A Good Idea After All

Last month when news headlines trumpeted the successful testing of a cat allergy vaccine, we spun it as a victory for all cats: Finally, allergies would no longer be an excuse for humans to avoid cats, and kitties could conquer the remaining holdouts, those homes that still aren’t occupied by America’s favorite pet.

Cats will be everywhere! Huzzah!

We were wrong.

Reader Kamala Tirumalai is not only an animal lover, caretaker of a feisty guinea pig and all-around awesome person, she’s also an immunologist with a PhD in microbiology. In other words, this is her area of expertise.

So we asked Dr. Kamala about the vaccine — which would be administered to cats, not people — and she was kind enough to give it some thought and explain why she doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

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How HypoCat works

First, a refresher: HypoCat, a European company, created what it calls a “virus-like particle vaccine” “to induce neutralizing antibodies against Fel d 1, the major feline allergen in human subjects.” The vaccine was intended to “bind and neutralize the Fel d 1 allergen.”

In layman’s terms, the vaccine is designed to shut off the protein that triggers allergic reactions and symptoms like itchy skin, watery eyes and sneezing in humans. Contrary to what many people believe, the offending protein doesn’t come from cat hair, it’s produced in cat saliva and dander. But because cats are fastidious groomers, the allergen is passed from saliva to fur.

Vaccine administered to cats, not humans

HypoCat stops the protein, but there’s a catch: The vaccine is administered to cats, not humans, which means instead of inoculating people from the protein’s effects, it’s changing the way Fel d 1 operates in a cat’s system.

The problem, as Kamala points out, is that “Fel d 1’s function is still unknown.”

“Yet the fact that so many cat glands secrete it all the time implies it must have some function in and for cats,” she explained. “What if that’s a function important for their health? What’ll happen then to cats vaccinated against Fel d 1? That’s currently an unknown.”

By “neutralizing” Fel d 1 — in other words, making it non-functional — HypoCat could trigger an autoimmune response in cats not unlike human autoimmune diseases in which the body’s defensive systems turn on itself.

Tinkering with an unknown

In a paper published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the Swiss-based company’s researchers acknowledge the unknowns surrounding Fel d 1’s function, noting while “some function in pheromone binding and pelt conditioning has been suggested, the biological function of Fel d 1 remains uncertain.”

More than 50 cats from labs in New York and Ireland were used in the study. The study’s authors say they split the subjects into different groups to analyze immunogenicity (whether the vaccine produced an immune response) and tolerability, but there is no long-term data on how HypoCat might affect house cats.

Then there’s the moral and ethical aspect. HypoCat makes a potentially dangerous alteration to cats for the convenience of humans.

 

Cat Allergy Vaccine: The Final Barrier To Feline World Domination Crumbles!

His Grace, Buddy the King
Dated the 15th of August, 5 AB (Anno Buddy)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Rejoice, for the last barrier to feline domination of the world crumbles before our very paws, ushering in a glorious new era that shall see us take our rightful place as the preeminent species on this planet!

As you are aware, we play the part of cute and lazy animals so our human servants don’t see us as a threat, and feel compelled to do things for us. This allows us to control humans, plus it’s pretty sweet to have minions!

Buddy the Cat: Being Handsome
Behold your King.

To that end we employ human scientists in many laboratories across the globe, toiling under the illusion they are conducting groundbreaking research while they are unknowingly advancing the feline agenda.

In one of those labs a team of human scientists has been working on HypoCat, a vaccine designed to “neutralize” allergens with antibodies that target the Fel d 1 protein, which is responsible for itchy skin, rashes, sneezing and other reactions to our majestic presence.

In plain English, no more cat allergies!

Allergies are the primary reason we have not taken over every human household in the world.

With the advent of HypoCat, humans will have no more excuses, and homes that were previously off-limits to kittykind shall be added to our considerable territory.

Cat Allergies No More With HypoCat!
Soon, allergies shall no longer be an excuse to close off territory to our kind!

As your king, I command you to ready yourselves. Those of you who have been roughing it over the past few years must take a bath and get a haircut, in addition to practicing your solicitation purrs and brushing up on your kawaii skills to melt the hearts of your new humans and ensure they become faithful servants. We must move quickly as the vaccine is brought to market.

After the previously off-limits homes have been conquered we shall discuss the next steps, which include bending the approximately 900 million dogs in the world to our will and purpose. Muahahaha!

Signed,

His Grace Buddy I

King of All Cats, First of His Name, Ruler of New York, Protector of the Apartmental Realm, Sole Sovereign over the Fields of Turkey, Prime Despiser of Vacuum the Infernal Wizard