FIV TREATMENT: Antiviral therapy

Some of the drugs being developed or used to treat HIV also inhibit FIV in cell culture and some clinical effect has been claimed for9-(2-phosphonomethoxyethyI)adenine (PMEA and 3'-azido-3'deoxythymidine (AZT; zidovudine) in cats. In experimental studies, PMEA has been shown to inhibit detectable FIV infection if given before virus inoculation, although viraemia developed once treatment stopped. In similar experiments, AZT in very high doses delayed but did not prevent detectable FIV infection. Some preliminary work suggests that PMEA and AZT might enable clinical recovery in some field cases (but without elimination of virus infection). In the authors' experience, treatment of field cases with AZT has generally been disappointing although a few cats did show temporary clinical improvement within a few weeks of the onset of treatment. AZT can have quite severe side effects in cats, including anaemia and liver damage, particularly at high doses or after prolonged treatment.


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