Monday, June 24, 2013

BREAKING: Cornell professor discovers key to deadly cat virus

FIP, or Feline Infectious Peritonitis, is a heartbreaking disease where a common virus mutates into something swift and deadly. And it most frequently strikes young kittens.

Tiny Tim of KC Siamese Rescue
We watched helplessly as Maxwell's Alma Mater struggled to save a chocolate point kitten who looked just like our own Ryker.

Those trusting blue eyes were forever shut by this disease, and we all mourned.

And most recently, we all read along as friend and fellow blogger Robin Olson fiercely battled for the life of one of her rescue cats, 10 month old Fred.

You can read his story and the extraordinary lengths she went to, in order to save him, here.

Hopefully, very soon these sad tales will be stories from the past.

Last Thursday, June 20, Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine published the following news release: "Breakthrough discovery gives first hope against deadliest cat virus".

It's big news. The scientists at Cornell have uncovered the holy grail of a 30-year quest for the mutation that turns a harnless virus into the very fatal FIP.

Here is what the news release said:

"Clinically dramatic and usually fatal, FIP develops when feline enteric coronavirus (FECV), a common benign intestinal virus, mutates into the malignant FIP virus (FIPV).

"Discovered by a Cornell veterinarian in 1963, this mutant moves from intestinal cells to white blood-cells called macrophages. Traveling through the body, it kills most cats within weeks. Kittens are particularly vulnerable, especially in shelters and catteries. Current tests cannot distinguish between the common FECV and the killer FIPV. No effective vaccines or therapies exist.

“These viruses are so rife with mutations that even samples of the same virus from the same tissue in the same cat rarely match to the letter,” said Dr. Gary Whittaker, the professor of virology who discovered the mutation key. “Sifting through for something that distinguishes FIPV was like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

 So Whittaker deviated from the traditional approach and focused instead on a specific characteristic of the virus. This unique interdisciplinary approach did the trick.

“We’ve found the first known molecular basis for FIP,” said Whittaker. “It finally unlocks the door to developing the world’s first effective diagnostics, preventions, and therapies for FIP in cats.”

Cat owners, shelter workers, rescues and volunteers the world over are cheering you on, Dr. Whittaker.

Thank you.


25 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this info. We are join the cheering and hope they find a cure soon.

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  2. This is amazing news. Next for the prevention/cure!

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  3. That is great news and we hope it will be a thing of the past real soon. Good on Dr Whittaker. Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  4. Wonderful mews...tanks for posting as we haven't seen this anywhere else! Grrrr8 mews to start da week. *purrrrrrrrrrrr*

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  5. This is excellent news indeed...Hope the research towards a cure continues quickly

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  6. This so made my eyes leaky.. I am so happy they found SOMETHING..

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  7. What wonderful encouraging news. We hope that this new knowledge leads quickly to treatments, preventatives and a cure for this terrible disease.

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  8. That is such great news. WE hope this will translate into helping lots more kitties in the very near future.

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  9. Paws up for this researcher!!!! We hope it quickly leads to either a cure or a vaccine to stop this evil disease from stealing our kitties.....

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  10. This is EXCITING news! I look forward to the day when NO kitty should ever have to die because of FIP.

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  11. We learn so much blogging, we never know so many of these illnesses existed, thank you for taking your time to share with us xx00xxx

    Mollie and Alfie

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  12. Very exciting news....very. Here's hoping this road leads to victory.

    Pam and Sam

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  13. WONDERFUL!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  14. That is such great news!! When you figure out why something happens it is easier to figure out how to stop it from happening again.
    Rock on!

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  15. What wonderful outstanding news. Maybe one day this disease can be wiped off the face of the earth.

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  16. FIP is an awful disease and we're hoping this breakthrough leads to the end of it. Mom lost her first Birman, Uriel, to FIP.

    The Florida Furkids

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  17. Wow! This is some of the best news we have heard in a long time! Thanks so much for sharing it! FIP is a terrible, heart breaking disease. And once the researchers are successful, they can use the same techniques to treat similar diseases. Feline leukemia would be nice!

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  18. Thank heaven for this scientist, and here's hoping we soon see an end to this desease!

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  19. le chaton siamois ressemble aussi à Opale lorsqu'elle était petite. Nous espérons que les chercheurs vaincrons le virus. Merci pour le documentaire, ronrons d'Opale et SOnye

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  20. That is a tremendous breakthrough!!

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  21. Our Dads dear friend in rescue lost one of her ferals very recently to this killer. The fellow was just out of kitten stage and letting her pet him a bit when it struck.
    We are tails in the air happy with this news

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  22. Paws up for the good doctor!!!
    Such encouraging and hopeful news.
    : )

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  23. OMC!! I am so excited by this hope! Mom Linda lost a kitty to wet FIP 37 years ago...a kitten. This is pawsome!

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  24. Thank you so much for this informative post and its links. We have never had to deal with this disease, and our mom prayers that it will never enter our home. She was so heart-sick reading about Fred and how his young life was cut so short. We'll be praying that the new discovery will bring treatment and a cure to all who need it. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Josette

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Coolio! A comment? For US?