MANHATTAN, Kan. -- If cats really had nine lives, one reason might be to help deal with the wide variety of diseases that threaten feline health.
Yunjeong Kim, a research assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, has developed a research approach that tackles two deadly infectious feline diseases at the same time. Her work is being supported by a $156,342 award from the Morris Animal Foundation.
"Coronavirus and calicivirus infections are very common among cats, and cats tend to get repeatedly infected by these viruses throughout their lifetime," said Kim, who works in the college's diagnostic medicine and pathobiology department. "Feline coronavirus can cause gastroenteritis, and calicivirus often causes ulcerative upper respiratory infection with gingivitis and stomatitis. In most cases, these viral infections are mild and self-limited."
But Kim says some cats that are infected with these viruses develop life-threatening illnesses with high fatality. The deadly form of feline coronavirus infection, feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP, has been recognized since the early 1970s and is currently the leading infectious cause of death in young cats. More recently, virulent systemic feline calicivirus infection, or vs-FCV, has emerged associated with a systemic infection that is frequently fatal. Since 1998, numerous outbreaks of vs-FCV infection have been reported in animal shelters and catteries with mortality as high as 67 percent.
Vaccines are available for FIP and vs-FCV, but their field application seems to be limited or not recommended due to various reasons, and there is no antiviral drug for these viral infections. That means there is a great need for safe and effective antiviral drugs for these diseases.
"We have been working on a virus protease that is highly conserved among some viruses, including coronavirus and calicivirus," Kim said. "This virus protease, 3C-li
|Contact: Yunjeong Kim|
Kansas State University