Scientists have formulated a clearer picture of how cats cause allergic reactions, and it's bringing new hope for sufferers—indeed, as the Daily Mail puts it, a cure could be ready within five years. Cat allergies are generally caused by the animals' dander, or skin particles; researchers examined the proteins inside, the BBC reports. Alongside a common bacteria, the allergen ignites the immune system. Researchers have identified the "specific receptor interaction" underlying the process.
"This is the first time we have discovered the process that leads to the allergic reaction. It opens up a whole new type of drug to treat it," says researcher Clare Bryant. Thanks to the new understanding, drugs "that are in clinical trials for other conditions, such as sepsis ... could potentially then be used in a different way to treat cat allergy and to prevent cat allergy," she notes. In the future, "with just a puff of an inhaler," cat allergy sufferers could be free to cuddle with new feline friends.