UC Davis Launches FIP Clinical Trials
Scientists from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine have launched new clinical trials focused on improving treatments for feline infectious peritonitis, (FIP), and are currently enrolling patients at the UC Davis veterinary hospital for those clinical trials.
FIP occurs when the otherwise benign feline coronavirus mutates inside the cat creating an immune-mediated disease. FIP occurs in either two or three different forms (wet, dry and some define neurological FIP as a third distinct form).
While cats can develop FIP at any age, it is most commonly diagnosed between 6-months and 2 years of age. It is one of the most common causes of death in young cats with infectious diseases. Currently there is no successful treatment approved for veterinarians in the United States.
However, a treatment is awaiting FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine approval from the pharmaceutical company Anivive, which is based on many years of studies primarily funded by the non-profit Winn Feline Foundation (today called the EveryCat Health Foundation), and specifically work conducted UC Davis Professor Emeritus Dr. Niels Pedersen.
There are various black market products available to treat FIP which – in fact – do work, according to a study. And help for families with kitties suffering from once fatal FIP can find support at FIP Warriors 5.0 on Facebook.
Still, we can do better. Zen by Cat and the EveryCat Health Foundation Bria Fund continue to support further research. It is as a result of funding from the EveryCat Health Foundation that a pro-drug identical to Remdesivir was used to successfully treat FIP and ultimately treat SARS CoV2 which causes COVID-19 in humans. It turned out that helping kittens with FIP has helped humans.
One UC Davis trial will compare whether cats improve when treated with one of two closely related antiviral drugs. The first drug, Remdesivir, is an antiviral drug with emergency use authorization from the FDA to treat COVID-19 (and that only happened because of Dr. Pedersen’s work and EveryCat Health Foundation funding). If fully licensed, veterinarians could prescribe it to affected cats on label in the future in the U.S. The second drug, GS-441524 is closely related to Remdesivir. Dr. Pedersen found it safe and effective in treating cats with FIP. In this study, cats will receive either oral GS-441524 or oral Remdesivir for comparison. Cats eligible for the study must be diagnosed specifically with the wet form of FIP. Note: Remdesivir in several nations is authorized as a treatment for FIP.
The other trial, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Development, will examine if antiviral drugs combined with a new stem cell therapy using mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs, improve response to treatment for FIP. The goal of the study is to see if cell therapy can direct a more effective antiviral immune response and help regenerate the cat’s compromised immune system post-infection. For this study, one group will receive antiviral drugs along with infusions of MSCs, and the other will receive an antiviral drug and placebo infusions.