Feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1) causes approximately 50 percent of diagnosed viral upper respiratory tract infections in cats. FHV-1 spreads rapidly in multi-cat environments, making it a significant problem in shelters, where infection often leads to euthanasia of infected animals. While commercial vaccines protect cats against the clinical signs of FHV-1, they do not protect cats against infection itself, nor prevent the virus from establishing latent infections that can recur at another time. Using tissue culture methods, researchers will look for genes responsible for FHV-1 infection and clinical disease as well as explore the lack of immune defenses associated with the disease. Findings will help inform the development of a second-generation vaccine that provides clinical protection as well as prevention of FHV-1 spread and persistence in cats.
Grant amount awarded
Michigan State University
Gisela Soboll Hussey, Dr.med.vet, PhD