The TWO messages below are from Dr. Susan Little (feline specialist) to update us all on the status and issues about the new FIV vaccine:
Today, the University of California at Davis released information on
the first FIV vaccine for cats. It was approved for use today by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (the government body that licenses vaccines). The license for manufacture of the vaccine is held by Fort Dodge Animal Health.
While this is good news and a step in the right direction, this vaccine raises several questions in my mind:
1) how will vets be able to differentiate a postive FIV test (which
detects antibodies) from a cat that has been vaccinated?
2) the data released to date showed that 67% of vaccinated cats were
protected against FIV infection when challenged. But only 74% of the
non-vaccinated cats were infected after challenge - this seems a low
number, and either indicates that FIV is not as easy to transmit as
thought, or that the researchers used a challenge method that was
sub-optimal. When you factor in the 26% of cats naturally resistant to the challenge, the vaccine efficacy is probably even lower than 67%.
3) it is a killed vaccine and therefore undoubtedly will be adjuvanted. We may now have another vaccine to worry about causing vaccine associated sarcomas.
4) it takes an initial series of 3 vaccines to inoculate a cat - this
means less client compliance (sometimes its hard to get people to come back for ONE kitten booster).
5) if I remember correctly, there are 5 subgroups of FIV - does this
virus protect against them all?
Some things to think about .... especially for those of you doing stray or rescue work, as I do.
June 20: Winn Symposium, Scottsdale AZ
Aug 15: International Ragdoll Congress, Denver CO
Susan Little DVM, Dipl ABVP (Feline)
Bytown Cat Hospital, Ottawa, Canada
As an update, I can tell you that the American Assoc of
Feline Practitioners lodged a protest with Center for Veterinary
Biologics, Licensing and Policy Development about licensing this vaccine because it will make it very difficult for vets to tell the difference between an infected cat and a vaccinated cat (since the standard FIV ELISA test detects antibodies, not the virus itself).