FIP is a severe disease caused by a feline coronavirus variant, though not the one that causes COVID-19. The virus will spread through a cat's body, causing systemic inflammation. Up to 95% of cats diagnosed with FIP die without treatment. Cats can develop FIP at any age, but it is usually diagnosed in cats between 6 months and two years. It is one of the most common causes of death in young cats with infectious diseases. Currently, no successful treatment is approved for veterinarians in the United States.
Trials will examine antiviral drugs, stem cell therapy
One trial will compare whether cats improve when treated with one of two closely related antiviral drugs. The first drug, remdesivir, is an antiviral drug with emergency authorization from the FDA to treat COVID-19. The second drug, GS-441524, is closely related to remdesivir. Pedersen found it safe and effective in treating cats with FIP.
The other trial will examine if antiviral drugs combined with a new stem cell therapy using mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs, improve response to treatment for FIP. The study aims to see if cell therapy can direct a more effective antiviral immune response and help regenerate the cat's compromised immune system post-infection. For this study, one group will receive antiviral drugs along with infusions of MSCs, and the other will receive antiviral drugs and placebo infusions.