Feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV-1) is a virus that causes 50% of the cases of feline respiratory disease. Vaccines available for this virus are only minimally effective and drugs that are used to treat herpesvirus infections in humans do not work well in cats. Therefore, development of a new treatment for cats would be beneficial. RNA (ribonucleic acid) is very similar to DNA and is a molecule used by some organisms to store genetic material. RNA interference is a cellular mechanism that is activated by the introduction of RNA into cells. The cellular machinery that is involved in this process has a natural anti-viral role in plants. It has already been shown that RNA interference can be used to reduce the production of FHV-1 in cat kidney cell cultures.
RNA interference is a potential treatment for FHV-1. The purpose of this study is to evaluate RNA interference for FHV-1 in cat corneal cells, cells which naturally are infected by this virus.