CAT allergies can be banished with a single swipe after a groundbreaking study by scientists who have found a way to eliminate the cause.
The American company Indoor Biotechnologies has found a way to eliminate a protein from inside cats that causes allergic reactions in some people.
It is estimated that one in ten people suffer from feline allergies triggered by the Fel d 1 protein.
Fel d 1 is found in the salivary glands and skin of cats, and can spread when they groom and lose their fur, which in some people causes an adverse reaction.
Now scientists have taken 50 cats and successfully eliminated the problematic protein using gene editing, reports The Times.
It is hoped that this breakthrough will allow scientists to develop an injection – or perhaps a cream or pill – to give to cats to turn off the gene that makes the protein.
The treatment will get rid of the damned Fel d 1 and people will be able to enjoy their pets without allergies.
The company, which specializes in allergy medications, hopes it will be available to veterinarians within two to three years.
No one knows exactly what protein does except make the unhappy animal lovers cough, sneeze and itch
Some believe it may be linked to mating, while others believe it can protect cats’ skin from infection.
The scientists said more tests will be needed to ensure that eliminating Fel d 1 won’t be bad for cats.
Martin Chapman, managing director of Indoor Biotechnologies, said the treatment sounds like “science fiction” but said it was real.
He said, “We want people to be able to take the cats to the vet, get an injection, and then reduce or eliminate Fel d 1 for good. “
Alena Pance, a scientist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, who was not involved in the study, said the treatment should be tested to make sure it doesn’t harm animals.
The expert said: “Suppression of Fel d 1 could be possible without damaging the animals, but this should be carefully tested.
“I don’t think a cat lover can put their cat in danger to relieve their allergy. “
Indoor Biotechnologies is planning an experiment in which scientists will remove the gene from fertilized eggs and then implant one in a cat.
Scientists would then monitor the kitten to make sure it is growing without any medical problems, proving that eliminating Fel d 1 has no impact on the health of cats.
However, society is clear that the treatment – if deployed – should only be used in adult cats in the future.
Nicole Brackett, who directs the research and is allergic to cats, said that an injection would probably only be needed once or twice for the cat.
She added: “One of the main reasons why cats are moved to shelters is for allergy reasons, so it would be an advantage for the cat. “
It is currently unclear how expensive such treatment would be for pet owners.
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Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, from the Francis Crick Institute’s stem cell biology and developmental genetics laboratory, said that although Fel d 1 was essential for cats, there could be a problem.
The scientist suggested that it might be possible to modify the protein so that it maintains its functions but no longer causes allergies.
He added: “Either approach will depend on a much deeper understanding of the structure and role of the gene and the Fel d 1 protein.”
Previously, a Swiss team of scientists tried to develop a “vaccine” for cats against their own Fel d 1.
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