Cats are known to chase the mice away. These furry felines may well chase away the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) virus in the times to come. At that time, these domestic pets will also provide the medicinal value to their domestic masters.

Findings of a new study suggest that a cat AIDS virus triggers an effectual immune response in HIV-infected humans.

The groundbreaking research, conducted at the University of Florida and University of California, San Francisco, may pave the way for the development of a successful AIDS vaccine for humans.

Scientists are trying to develop vaccines that trigger a T cell response in HIV-positive individuals.

Such vaccines would contain viral peptides – small pieces of protein from HIV, as a constituent.
Researchers aver that some peptides fuel immune responses which may take the form of HIV infection enhancement or an anti-HIV action. In cases where the virus mutates, the anti-HIV infection is negated.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
The latest study attempted to use viral peptides in the cat AIDS virus that induce anti-HIV T-cell activities and at the same time do not mutate. Some peptides from the feline AIDS virus are referred to as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

“Since FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) and HIV-1 are distant cousins and their sequences are similar, we used the T cells from HIV positive human subjects to see if they can react and induce anti-HIV activity to small regions of FIV protein, ” Janet Yamamoto, professor of retroviral immunology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida and corresponding study author said of the research methodology.

The other study author, Dr. Jay A. Levy, professor of medicine at the University of California, stressed that the latest study does not indicate that the feline AIDS virus infects humans.

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