Updated 18 May 2017

New injection may relieve cat allergies

If you suffer from a cat allergy, a new vaccine may mark the end of red, itchy eyes and the beginning of a happier relationship with your furry friend.


If you suffer from cat allergies, a future that involves living with Felix and Mittens may no longer mean red, itchy eyes and sneezing. Benchmark, a company based in Sheffield in the United Kingdom, has announced a partnership with Swiss company HypoPet to create a new cat allergy vaccine.

Cat urine and saliva

According to a news article published on the Benchmark website, the new drug will neutralise the protein Fel d 1, responsible for causing allergies in humans. According to HypoPet, the protein can be found in the urine and saliva of cats. Because cats clean their coats by licking, their fur is also covered in the allergy-triggering protein.

Cat allergies are the most common type of pet allergy and are twice as common as allergies to dogs. Benchmark states in their article that approximately 10% of the global population suffer from cat allergy.

Currently, cat allergy treatment options are fairly limited. Healthline states that the treatment options include taking antihistamines, leukotriene modifiers or corticosteroids, having an allergy shot or using a nasal decongestant. For many, avoiding cats entirely is the only option to avoid unpleasant allergy symptoms.

The new HypoCat® vaccine will be the first of its kind and is designed to open up a new, profitable market in the animal health sector with an approximate global value of £250 million, the Benchmark article says.

While you wait patiently for the Hypocat® vaccine to come to market, follow these simple tips to reduce allergic reactions and live in harmony with your feline companions:

  • Keep your cats out of your bedroom.
  • Put allergy-proof covers on your mattress and pillows.
  • Wash bedding materials in hot water.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching your cat.
  • Where possible, remove fitted carpets and replace with tiles, laminate or wooden flooring options.
  • Frequently steam clean carpets and rugs.

Read more:

Living with cats and allergies
Cats up allergy risks in adults
Cat allergies double amongst asthma sufferers

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Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies.

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