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Feline interferon omega for treatment of FeLV & FIV

Gil S, Leal RO, Duarte A, et al. Relevance of feline interferon omega for clinical improvement and reduction of concurrent viral excretion in retrovirus infected cats from a rescue shelter. Res Vet Sci. 2013; 94: 753-63.

Feline retroviruses are important pathogens of cats, especially cats in animal shelters. In shelters, infection with other diseases becomes even more serious among retrovirus-infected cats due to the effects of feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) on the immune system by the retroviruses. A therapeutic drug that may be used for infected cats is recombinant feline interferon omega. These researchers investigated the usefulness of this drug in retrovirus-infected cats. They followed 16 cats naturally infected with either FIV and/or FeLV during treatment with interferon and found that the majority of the cats improved clinically. They also found that excretion of concurrent virus infections, such as feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, coronavirus, and parvovirus were reduced in treated cats. They concluded that administration of feline interferon omega led to improved clinical condition and reduced concurrent virus excretion.

One weakness of this study was that there was no control group of uninfected cats given interferon, nor retrovirus-infected cats not administered interferon. Thus, comparisons could not be done, and results were somewhat subjective. However, this study does provide encouraging evidence for the use of feline interferon omega in retrovirus-infected cats. [MK]

See also: de Mari K, Maynard L, Sanquer A, Lebreux B and Eun HM. Therapeutic effects of recombinant feline interferon-omega on feline leukemia virus (FeLV)-infected and FeLV/feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)-coinfected symptomatic cats. J Vet Intern Med. 2004; 18: 477-82.