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 laboratory and field experiences with GC376, a viral protease inhibitor, in an article in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. An abstract of this article can be accessed at the PubMed website (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). 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 initial research studies on a second compound (nucleoside analog GS-441524- Gilead Sciences, Inc.) and these results can be found at the Veterinary Microbiology journal open access article website (sciencedirect.com). We are in the process of publishing field trial results with this very promising viral RNA inhibitor in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. 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 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 polymerase inhibitors, as well as other classes of anti-viral drugs that might target specific aspects of RNA virus replication. I wish that there were currently available treatments for FIP, but none have proven curative and treatment remains basically symptomatic and targeted at extending a reasonable quality of life. -N. C. Pedersen DVM, PhD
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 market place. 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 is being illegally produced in China and sold through subsidiaries in Europe and US. GS-441524 (EV0984) is also being produced illegally in China but has just recently started to appear on the market. Manufacturers and secondary suppliers state that these drugs are to be used for research purposes only and not for use veterinary or human applications but are well-aware of their great demand and willingness of many cat owners to pay a high price. Many owners are paying $25K or more for enough drug to treat their cat for at least 12 weeks. We have no idea of the purity or biological activity of these black-market compounds and veterinarians have no experience with preparing them for treatment or using them to treat cats with FIP. I believe that it is unethical for veterinarians to use drugs obtained in this manner for their patients, even though they are purchased by the owners. Therefore, owners and veterinarians using such drugs should be aware of possible consequences arising from the use of illegal and unapproved drugs.