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Treating feline herpesvirus 1 with interleukin-12 plus interferon-gamma

Fiorito F, Cantiello, Granato G, et al. Clinical improvement in feline herpesvirus 1 infected cats by oral low dose of interleukin-12 plus interferon-gamma. Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis.2016 Oct;48:41-7.

Feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV) is an important respiratory and ocular pathogen of cats, often affecting kittens. Current treatments include antivirals and antibiotics, but these treatments may have only moderate effectiveness as well as side effects.

These investigators examined the usefulness of two cytokines: interleukin 12 (IL-12), given orally at low dose and interferon gamma (IFN), an antiviral cytokine. Twenty-five unvaccinated and FHV-infected cats were used in this study. These were owned cats presented at veterinary clinics in Italy with clinical signs of FHV infection, including ocular and nasal discharge and conjunctivitis.

Fifteen were treated with these cytokines for six months, while 10 were given a placebo. Assessment of clinical signs, presence of virus, and blood values were taken at one, six, and 12 months after treatment was started (latter was at follow-up).Significant improvement in clinical signs were observed in the treated group, and virus was not detected in 12 of 15 cats. In placebo-treated cats, 10/10 cats were PCR-positive, with improvements (30%)or worsening (70%) in clinical signs. Blood values were normal in both groups.

These results show that the low dose therapy, based on activated solutions of IL-12 plus IFN-gamma, represents a novel approach to treat FHV-1 infection in cats. (MK)

See also:
Thiry E, Addie D, et al.  Feline herpesvirus infection. ABCD guidelines on prevention and management. J Feline Med Surg. 2009 Jul;11(7):547-55.