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Development of new therapies for FIP

Final report, Winn grant W10-037
Development of FIP Therapeutics in a Mouse Model
Investigator: Gary R. Whittaker, Cornell University

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a lethal systemic infection in cats, caused by a virulent biotype (FIPV) of feline coronavirus (FCoV). Infection by FCoV normally causes mild and often inapparent enteritis, in which case the virus is referred to as feline enteric coronavirus. Like many other viral systems, coronaviruses are activated by host cell proteases, and mutations on the viral spike protein can lead to changes in the activating protease and increased pathogenicity. FIPV is highly dependent on cathepsin B, an activating protease, for cell entry and replication.

Young cat with dry (non-effusive) FIP

 Therefore, these investigators have focused on testing cathepsin B as an effective anti-viral treatment for FIPV. The researchers developed a mouse model for FIP development and tested the new therapeutic using that model. They utilized two different types of the virus inhibitor, and found that the second one tried, known as MDL21870, worked well in the mouse model. This is an important first step in development of effective FIP therapeutics. [MK]

Related articles: Legendre AM and Bartges JW. Effect of polyprenyl immunostimulant on the survival times of three cats with the dry form of feline infectious peritonitis. J Feline Med Surg. 2009; 11: 624-6.