Cats will play a major role on the creation of HIV vaccine against AIDS, and it has been found that the feline immunodeficiency virus or HIV in cats may unlock the cure for the deadly virus in humans.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
FIV is the HIV version in cats which infects several immune cells in the feline family. It is known that neither can infect the other's usual host - humans are not infected by FIV and cats are not vulnerable to HIV.
A new study found that FIV may have secrets for the cure against HIV by using the viral protein from FIV. Researches from the University of Florida and University of California, San Francisco discovered FIV proteins in triggering immune response of a person infected by HIV.
"One major reason why there has been no successful HIV vaccine to date is that we do not know which parts of HIV to combine to produce the most effective vaccine. Surprisingly, we have found that certain peptides of the feline AIDS virus can work exceptionally well at producing human T-cells that fight against HIV," stated Janet Yamamoto, professor of retroviral immunology at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, quoted by USNews.
In previous studies, researchers and scientists usually combine various whole HIV proteins to create vaccine, and sadly, none actually worked and failed to reach commercial vaccine status.
FIV Proteins as Vaccine
Vaccines typically contains agent of disease-causing microorganism which have been weakened or killed to trigger immune response of the body to make the immune system "memorise" the pathogen to gain immunity or resistance.
The FIV protein is present in multiple HIV-like viruses in different animal specifies, and by using FIV, the human T-cell may be forced to be triggered to fight HIV itself. Researchers believe that it may be possible to identify regions of HIV that might prove useful targets for a vaccine.
"We want to stress that our findings do not mean that the feline AIDS virus infects humans, but rather that the cat virus resembles the human virus sufficiently so that this cross-reaction can be observed," said Jay Levy, professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco.
Both HIV and FIV vaccine are difficult to develop due to variations of strains, but by studying relations of their proteins may allow science to create an effective vaccine from cross-related components, similar to the recent study with SIV or simian immunodeficiency virus on monkeys.
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