Aug 17, 2019 | Updated: 07:24 AM EDT

This Pet Food Manufacturer is Working on Cat Food to Help Out People with Cat Allergies

Jul 28, 2019 10:24 AM EDT

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If you're a cat lover but unfortunate with the tolerance of these furry friends because of your cat allergies, you should be happy to know that Purina, a pet food manufacturing company group from Nestlé is planning to produce cat food that can help you out.

In a research done by Nestlé Purina, a drop of 47 percent in the amount of Fel d1 protein was observed in 105 cats after feeding them the antibody to the protein for 10 weeks, as they report in the June issue of Immunity, Inflammation and Disease.  Fel d1 is that protein produced in the salivary and sebaceous glands of cats and it causes cat allergies when recognized by some people's immune systems as we are exposed to the protein via cat hair and dead skin.  About 20 percent of the human population is affected by cat allergies and these people tend to sneeze a lot and experience irritation in the eyes when exposed to the protein.

The manufacturing giant has derived the antibody to Fel d1 from eggs.  When this chemical compound is added to cat food, it neutralizes the protein in the cat's saliva, then disabling the protein as it is produced in the salivary glands and before it spreads to the cat's hair and skin.  This chemical reaction therefore prevents the response of the immune system of a nearby human being with cat allergies.  This process was explained by lead researcher and director of molecular nutrition at Purina, Ebenezer Satyaraj.  He then assures that safety tests have resulted to no harm to the cats fed with the antibody.

Findings in a small pilot study were presented at the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Congress last June.  The study showed that 11 people with allergies to cats have experienced a noticeable amount of reduction in nasal congestion, sneezing, and itchy eyes after exposing them in a test chamber with hair from cats fed with the antibody diet.

As one may think why there has not been a solution yet to cat allergies-that is, why is there no medicine for people like how antihistamine stops some other forms of allergies-this is because doctors cannot prescribe the Fel d1 antibody and give it to patients in the form of oral medication as the antibody's molecules are broken down in the gut, causing them to fail to reach the target.  This was explained by the medical director of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and an allergist and immunologist at the Medical College of Georgia, Michael Blaiss.  He described the way Purina has decided to address the problem as "interesting and unusual".

The product is not yet in the market, but Purina plans to do further studies in order to determine how effective the antibody is at home.

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