Unlike HIV/AIDS in humans, no specific combination antiretroviral treatment (ART) exists for FIV. Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) do inhibit FIV replication, but other drug classes used have not, thus impeding the ability to use combination ART in cats. A promising new drug class, integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs), has been shown to have potent antiretroviral effects in human clinical trials. A study showing INSTI-binding sites in FIV and HIV-1 to be nearly identical also investigated the ability of INSTIs to inhibit FIV replication. In vitro experiments showed 3 investigational INSTIs designed for HIV-1 to efficiently inhibit FIV replication. These findings may lead to new FIV treatments and could provide a basis for the design of an ART for FIV.

COMMENTARY: For years, veterinary virologists and pathologists have promoted the use of FIV as an appropriate animal model for studying HIV. In this study, cats stand to benefit from the research done over the past 2 decades that has been immensely helpful in humans. Because the binding sites were found to be nearly identical in FIV and HIV, this mode of therapy could, in fact, be transferable to our feline patients. This would be an exciting breakthrough for veterinary medicine.

Human immunodeficiency virus integrase inhibitors efficiently suppress feline immunodeficiency virus replication in vitro and provide a rationale to redesign antiretroviral treatment for feline AIDS. Savarino A, Pistello M, D'Ostilio D, et al. RETROVIROLOGY 4:79, 2007.