Researchers found that a protein from the virus that causes AIDS in cats triggered an immune response in blood from HIV-infected people. It was reported that further research of with the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) could lead to an 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,' study corresponding author Janet Yamamoto said in a news release.
Previous studies have combined various whole HIV proteins to form a vaccine, but the vaccines did not work well enough to be used commercially.
'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,' Yamamoto said. T-cells are the cells that fight against the HIV virus.
'We want to stress that our findings do not mean that the feline AIDS virus infects humans, but rather that the cat virus resembles the human virus sufficiently so that this cross-reaction can be observed,' study co-author Dr. Jay Levy said.