Researchers at pet food giant Purina are exploring a unique approach to help people with cat allergies. By adding antibodies to cat food, they believe this could bring down the number of allergic reactions.
Cat Food and Antibodies
Cat allergies are quite common. The allergic reaction is mainly caused by the cat fur and can involve anything from sniffling to sneezing and more. Some people who are allergic to cat fur have to stay far away from these furry friends because of more severe reactions. The new research could put an end to this.
Purina researchers have been working with an antibody that targets a protein in cats known as Fel d1. This protein is notorious for being the major cause of allergies from cats. When the antibody reacts with Fel d1, the result is that the human immune system can no longer recognize this allergen. As a result, the allergic reaction is partially or completely diminished.
In an experiment run over the course of 10 weeks, 105 cat subjects were fed with the antibody. The results are quite significant and show that the allergen in cat hair decreased significantly. In fact, there was a 47 percent average drop in the level of Fel d1 protein in the cat fur after the 10-week feeding period. The findings of this breakthrough study by Nestlé Purina are reported in the journal Immunity, Inflammation, and Disease.
That’s not all. A small study was also done to see what the effects were on people with cat allergies. 11 participants were exposed to hair from the cats in the antibody study om a controlled chamber. They reported a significant reduction in their allergic response to cat fur. Their eyes were not as itchy and scratchy as they might normally be, and their nasal symptoms were also reduced. The findings of this second study were recently presented at the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Congress held in Portugal.