Dr. Pedersen has updated information about FIP in the “About FIP” category. Three additional articles entitled FIP Treatment, Black-Market Production, and Sale of GS-441524 and GC376 and Neurological and ocular FIP have also been included in this same category.
To the numerous owners of cats with FIP that contact us daily: I am sorry but our field trials on GC376 and GS-441524 have been completed and we are no longer accepting cats with FIP for treatment. We also cannot dispense these drugs, free or for a charge, as that would not be legal or ethical. Both drugs have shown promise in curing cats with FIP and are now in various stages of being commercialized. * This is a complex process that involves intellectual property rights and ultimately identifying potential companies interested in taking a drug through FDA approval and licensing. This is not a simple task and could take one to two years before one or more drug is approved and made available for use by licensed veterinarians. We have described our experiences with GC376, a viral protease inhibitor, in an article in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. A copy of this article can be accessed at: ccah.vetmed.ucdavis.edu. The rights for GC376 have been obtained by Anivive and they are starting the lengthy process of obtaining FDA approval for treating cats with FIP and eventual marketing. We have also published our clinical studies on a second compound (nucleoside analog GS-441524- Gilead Sciences, Inc.) and these results can also be found at: ccah.vetmed.ucdavis.edu. We are hopeful that similar reports will be forthcoming as other drugs go through experimental and field testing. We are convinced based on our research that anti-viral drugs of the type currently used for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and in the test phase for Ebola, Marburg, MERS, SARS, and bat coronavirus infections will provide the best chance for curing this terrible disease of cats. These drugs include protease inhibitors, nucleoside analogs (RNA chain terminators), RNA polymerase inhibitors, as well as other classes of anti-viral drugs that might target specific aspects of RNA virus replication.
Many cat lovers see the advent of GS376 and GS-441524 treatment as a final solution to the problem of FIP. This is far from the case, as there is a need to find even more effective drugs. Drugs that can more efficiently penetrate into the central nervous system and eyes are needed. Diluents that will maintain the stability of a drug but not cause injection site reactions to need to be researched. Oral forms of injectable drugs need to be developed and tested in field trials. Treatments that help stimulate the immune system during anti-viral drug treatment need to be studied, as successful treatment of FIP, as with hepatitis C in people, may depend ultimately on the establishment of a protective immune response. We need to discover how the FIP virus abrogates protective immunity so that treatments can be found that will negate this effect. An understanding of FIP virus immunity may also lead someday to effective vaccines. Finally, we need a much better understanding of the environmental factors in high-density cat populations that foster FIP. The ultimate goal of FIP research should be total prevention. Effective treatment for FIP will not prevent FIP from occurring, but it is an important tool in this ultimate goal. Please keep supporting FIP research and researchers around the world.
Note: There is a desperate need for these drugs, but the demand has gotten way ahead of the procedures necessary to bring them safely and economically to the marketplace. It takes 2-7 years to get approvals and market a drug after it is researched in Western countries and the worldwide problems with FIP are only getting worse. This is especially true in advancing countries where the demand for purebred kittens has gone through the roof and the conditions favoring FIP have gone with it. GC376 and GS-441524 are being illegally produced in China and sold through subsidiaries in Europe and US. Manufacturers and secondary suppliers often state that these drugs are to be used for research purposes only, not for human use, or not for veterinary or human applications. However, they are well-aware of their great demand and willingness of many cat owners to pay a high price. The purity or biological activity of these drugs is not assured, and veterinarians (or owners) have no prior experience with preparing them for treatment or using them to treat cats with FIP. The ethical aspects of using black market drugs, even if purchased by owners, is a problem that veterinarians have to confront. Ethical considerations have led many owners to treat their cats without veterinary input, which is unfortunate as the treatment is long, not without side-effects, and must be carefully monitored with regular blood tests.
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