Cats May Offer Clues for HIV Vaccine
Researchers in Jacksonville have discovered a link between feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that may be a key to developing a vaccine for HIV. Janet Yamamoto, a professor of immunology at the University Of Florida College Of Veterinary Medicine, recently discovered a protein in the FIV virus triggers an immune response in blood from HIV-infected people.
Yamamoto, who discovered the first FIV vaccine in 2002, said that the possible HIV vaccine will need to be tested in two animals before it can be tested on humans; monkeys will likely be the next test subject. Provided animal testing goes well, the vaccine could be tested on humans within the next five years. “We can use those animals as a model,” Yamamoto explained, adding that monkeys and cats cannot transmit the disease to humans.