USDA approves first FIV vaccine

USDA approves first FIV vaccine

May 01, 2002
By staff

Fort Dodge Animal Health announces it has received a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to produce the first vaccine for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). The dual-subtype vaccine should be available this summer.

Dr. Niels Pedersen, director of the Center for Companion Animal Health, and immunologist Dr. Janet Yamamoto, a professor at University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine, first isolated FIV in cats in 1986 at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Yamamoto has worked with Fort Dodge researchers for more than a decade to develop the vaccine. "The vaccine itself is truly international in that it is composed of virus strains of two different subtypes, one from North America and one from Asia," Yamamoto says. "The use of vaccine strains from different subtypes originating from different regions of the world was a goal of our research team. We knew from studies performed by FIV researchers worldwide that many subtypes can be found globally and FIV changes and mutates within the body."

Usually fatal, FIV is primarily transmitted through bite wounds between cats as the virus is present at high levels in saliva. Like human AIDS, the virus attacks the body's immune system, making the animal susceptible to diseases and infections that would have little effect on an FIV-free animal.

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