What is FIV?
Cats with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) may not show symptoms immediately. The virus is similar to HIV, but is only found in cats. Owners with an infected cat are not at risk of contracting the virus. Like HIV, FIV attacks the immune system of the cat. While the virus itself may not cause immediate symptoms, the cat’s immune system will become less able to fight against other infections and illnesses.
Approximately 2-3% of cats in the United States are infected with FIV. Cats with FIV can live between 2-12 years. FIV is typically spread through bites (unlike HIV), so it is especially prevalent among aggressive male cats that live outdoors. Occasionally, the virus can be passed from a mother cat to her kittens during birth.
FIV diagnostic tests may not be able to distinguish vaccinated cats from infected cats. While vaccines for FIV (a retrovirus) have certainly helped to reduce the frequency of infections, FDA-approved antiretroviral drugs for cats that become infected are currently not available.
Symptoms of FIV infection may include:
- Recurrent illnesses
- Poor coat condition
- Persistent fever
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Inflammation of the gums and mouth
- Chronic infection of the eyes, skin, bladder, or lungs
- Persistent diarrhea
- Progressive weight loss
How Jericho can help
Jericho is developing a new therapeutic drug for FIV infection in cats. We continue to research both safety and efficacy in treating FIV-infected cats, working toward a New Animal Drug Application (NADA) with the FDA. Our ongoing studies indicate that Jericho’s small molecule drug candidate can reduce FIV virus levels in chronically-infected cats for many months without continuing treatment. Extensive testing also indicates that the drug candidate has a good safety profile, supporting continuing development. Reducing FIV viral loads will help protect damage to cats’ immune systems.