Updated
December 16th, 2017

Is There a Cat Allergy Vaccine?

Cat-SPIRE vaccine may produce a significant decrease in cat allergy symptoms

beautiful cat in sun

A research study reports a new vaccine for people with cat allergies may soon be available. This new vaccine lasts eight (8) times longer than existing vaccines.

According to this research, after just four shots of the product named Cat-SPIRE, patients experienced a significant decrease in allergy symptoms when exposed to cat allergens.

Prof Mark Larche, Canada's Research Chair in Allergy and Immune Tolerance at McMaster University in Ontario, presented this research.

“To get a two-year effect after just one course of treatment, particularly when it’s only four injections, that’s very encouraging.” Larché is the co-founder of Circassia Ltd., a British biotech firm that is spearheading the product’s development along with the Canadian company Adiga Life Sciences, which is jointly owned by Circassia and McMaster University.

Larche also believes that children are growing up in an environment that is too clean for their immune system to properly learn which substances to attack and which to ignore.

Other than simply avoiding cats, immunotherapy, or allergy shots, is the current treatment option for cat allergy. The idea here is to re-train the immune system to accept the cat’s allergy-inducing protein rather than react to it as a dangerous invader.

Allergy shots involve giving injections to patients of allergens in an increasing dose over time.

To do so, the doctor injects small amounts of cat protein extract into the body over several visits, slowly increasing the dosage and then staying at a target level for three to five years. The hope is to achieve desensitization, or at the very least, greatly reduced symptoms.

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The process is far from ideal.

Not only does it require close to 100 injections, it is incredibly time-consuming, with untold hours spent at the doctor’s office. Not surprisingly, many patients simply quit going.

Allergies to furry pets are common, especially among people who have other allergies or asthma.

In the United States, as many as 30 percent of people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs. Researchers believe about 8 percent of the EU population are sensitised to the proteins in cat saliva, urine and dander.

Cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies.