For 20 per cent of us, being in the presence of cats can cause itchy eyes, and a runny nose. This allergic reaction is often in response to a protein called Fel d1, which is found on the hair and in the urine of cats. Unfortunately, doctors cannot prescribe oral antibodies to the Fel d1 protein to people, because the molecules are digested in the gut before they can have any effect, but a novel solution may be on the horizon.
Researchers from Nestle Purina have created a new food for cats that contains the antibody to the Fel d1 protein, which makes the protein unrecognizable to the human immune system. The food was fed to 105 cats for 10 weeks, and in this time the level of Fel d1 on their fur dropped by an average of 47%. The antibody in the food has an effect by neutralizing the protein in the saliva of the cats, which prevents the spread of the protein to their fur.
While the study size was very small, only 11 people with a cat allergy, it does lay the groundwork for further studies into novel ways to make the lives of those with cat allergies a little easier.
Source: Science News
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