Allows for the Potential Development of an HIV-1 Vaccine to Protect Against the AIDS Virus
This revolutionary discovery in the field of immunodeficiency viruses opens the doors for the development of a vaccine for feline-to-human transmission of FIV. Infection of cats with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) results in a cat disease that is similar to human AIDS caused by the related virus, human immunodeficiency virus. However, studies of the disease had all but ruled out the possibility of the transmission of the virus to humans. Our discovery documents, for the first time in medical history, the in vivo infection of humans with FIV, something that the medical community had considered to be unlikely. This discovery will have profound implications not only in the development of an FIV vaccine, but may also impact the development of HIV-1 vaccines and diagnostic assays.
The discovery of feline-to-human transmission of FIV opens the doors for a new branch of research concerning the development of a vaccine for the disease and may be used in the ongoing development of an HIV vaccine.
- Discovery that antibodies to FIV cross-react with HIV-1 allows for the development of an HIV-1 vaccine that may protect against the AIDS virus
- More accurate HIV test results will be garnered due to the fact that laboratories may now account for FIV in the patient’s system
In vitro infections of human cells with FIV have previously been reported. However, in vitro infection generally produced extremely low levels of FIV, and what little did result was usually ephemeral or defective. Our discovery is the first to demonstrate the in vivo FIV infection of humans and the expression of FIV proteins in humans. The revelation that humans can indeed become infected with FIV signals a possible turning point in the fight against the AIDS virus, allowing researchers the opportunity to develop more effective vaccines and to develop improved diagnostic tools.