Dr. Pedersen believes that a vaccine for FIP is not possible. Husbandry practices that can reduce the incidence of the disease have been implemented by many catteries and shelters, but will only have a limited effect. Therefore, his laboratory has concentrated on identifying anti-viral drugs that may prolong life, or hopefully bring about a cure. Collaborations have been underway with researchers at Kansas State University on testing the first generation of protease inhibitors. Protease inhibitors constrain and/or impede virus replication and are part of the drug cocktail currently used to treat HIV/AIDS. Preliminary testing of first-generation protease inhibitors with activity against FIP virus appears hopeful. Dr. Pedersen is also negotiating with a large pharmaceutical company and researchers at another University to help screen and test a number of compounds that show activity against related viruses that cause SARS and MERS in humans. The goal is to identify several safe and effective drugs that will attack the FIP virus by different mechanisms, mimicking the approach that has been so successful for HIV infection. His research team will also continue to study the nature of FIP immunity and the mechanisms by which the FIP virus is able to evade a cat’s defense mechanisms and cause disease. This latter research may identify additional targets for drug therapy.
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