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No benefit of therapeutic vaccination in clinically healthy cats persistently infected with feline leukemia virus


Helfer-Hungerbuehler, A Katrin; Spiri, Andrea M; Riond, Barbara; Grest, Paula; Boretti, Felicitas S; Hofmann-Lehmann, Regina (2015). No benefit of therapeutic vaccination in clinically healthy cats persistently infected with feline leukemia virus. Vaccine, 33(13):1578-1585.

Abstract

Therapeutic vaccinations have a potential application in infections where no curative treatment is available. In contrast to HIV, efficacious vaccines for a cat retrovirus, feline leukemia virus (FeLV), are commercially available. However, the infection is still prevalent, and no effective treatment of the infection is known. By vaccinating persistently FeLV-infected cats and presenting FeLV antigens to the immune system of the host, e.g., in the form of recombinant and/or adjuvanted antigens, we intended to shift the balance toward an advantage of the host so that persistent infection could be overcome by the infected cat. Two commercially available FeLV vaccines efficacious in protecting naïve cats from FeLV infection were tested in six experimentally and persistently FeLV-infected cats: first, a canarypox-vectored vaccine, and second, an adjuvanted, recombinant envelope vaccine was repeatedly administered with the aim to stimulate the immune system. No beneficial effects on p27 antigen and plasma viral RNA loads, anti-FeLV antibodies, or life expectancy of the cats were detected. The cats were unable to overcome or decrease viremia. Some cats developed antibodies to FeLV antigens although not protective. Thus, we cannot recommend vaccinating persistently FeLV-infected cats as a means of improving their FeLV status, quality of life or life expectancy. We suggest testing of all cats for FeLV infection prior to FeLV vaccination.

Abstract

Therapeutic vaccinations have a potential application in infections where no curative treatment is available. In contrast to HIV, efficacious vaccines for a cat retrovirus, feline leukemia virus (FeLV), are commercially available. However, the infection is still prevalent, and no effective treatment of the infection is known. By vaccinating persistently FeLV-infected cats and presenting FeLV antigens to the immune system of the host, e.g., in the form of recombinant and/or adjuvanted antigens, we intended to shift the balance toward an advantage of the host so that persistent infection could be overcome by the infected cat. Two commercially available FeLV vaccines efficacious in protecting naïve cats from FeLV infection were tested in six experimentally and persistently FeLV-infected cats: first, a canarypox-vectored vaccine, and second, an adjuvanted, recombinant envelope vaccine was repeatedly administered with the aim to stimulate the immune system. No beneficial effects on p27 antigen and plasma viral RNA loads, anti-FeLV antibodies, or life expectancy of the cats were detected. The cats were unable to overcome or decrease viremia. Some cats developed antibodies to FeLV antigens although not protective. Thus, we cannot recommend vaccinating persistently FeLV-infected cats as a means of improving their FeLV status, quality of life or life expectancy. We suggest testing of all cats for FeLV infection prior to FeLV vaccination.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Veterinary Pathology
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Farm Animals
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Uncontrolled Keywords:FeLV; Retrovirus; Therapeutic vaccination; Cat
Language:English
Date:24 March 2015
Deposited On:14 Oct 2015 09:48
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:26
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0264-410X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.02.009
PubMed ID:25698488

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