Cats Might Help Us Make HIV Vaccine

Researchers find link with feline version of virus

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 3, 2013 4:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – The quest for an HIV vaccine might get a boost from cats, reports Medical News Today. Researchers studying the feline version of AIDS came across a tantalizing discovery: When they exposed a protein from the cat virus to the blood of HIV-positive humans, it triggered an immune response in the blood, explains HealthDay News. "Surprisingly, we have found that certain peptides of the feline AIDS virus can work exceptionally well at producing human T cells that fight against HIV," says one of the study authors from the University of Florida.

With further research, scientists say they could translate that knowledge into the first effective HIV vaccine for people. "One major reason why there has been no successful HIV vaccine to date is that we do not know which parts of HIV to combine to produce the most effective vaccine," says the Florida scientist. Now, it turns out, part of the solution might involve not HIV proteins, but FIV proteins, referring to feline immunodeficiency virus.

  (Shutterstock)
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