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Treatment of FIV infected cats with interferon

Leal RO, Gil S, Duarte A, et al. Evaluation of viremia, proviral load and cytokine profile in naturally feline immunodeficiency virus infected cats treated with two different protocols of recombinant feline interferon omega. Res Vet Sci. 2015 Apr;99:87-95.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is a retrovirus causing lifelong infection and compromising the immune system. No suitable treatment is available for cats with the virus. This study examines the usefulness and efficacy of an antiviral cytokine, interferon, for treatment of cats with FIV. Naturally infected cats were used for this study, with a total of 18 cats. Seven cats were administered injectable interferon, while 11 cats received oral interferon.

Neither treatment was able to reduce the amount of virus circulating in the cats (viral load), and the amount of provirus (a replicative form of the virus) actually increased in the cats given injectable interferon. This was postulated to be due to the increase in lymphocytes that resulted from the drug’s administration. The only parameter that was altered by interferon treatment was the level of a specific cytokine, interleukin-6, which was decreased. This cytokine enhances inflammation pathways; thus, the interferon had anti-inflammatory effects on the cats by lowering this cytokine level. This may be the reason for clinical improvement after administration of interferon. (MK)

See also:
Gil S, Leal RO, et al. Oral Recombinant Feline Interferon-Omega as an alternative immune modulation therapy in FIV positive cats: clinical and laboratory evaluation. Res Vet Sci. 2014 Feb;96(1):79-85.