Clinical improvement in feline herpesvirus 1 infected cats by oral low dose of interleukin-12 plus interferon-gamma

Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 2016 Oct;48:41-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cimid.2016.07.006. Epub 2016 Jul 26.


Feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV-1) is a widespread cat pathogen inducing rhinitis, conjunctivitis and corneal ulcers. To alleviate acute FHV-1-induced disease, antiviral agents are used often with antibiotics. But sometimes, these treatments, as well as conventional doses of cytokines have moderate efficacy and/or collateral effects. Herein we have investigated the effects of low dose interleukin (IL)-12 plus interferon (IFN)-gamma, prepared by Sequential Kinetic Activated (SKA), on the treatment of FHV-1 infection. Twenty-five, unvaccinated FHV-1-positive cats were recruited into a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical trial. Fifteen cats were treated for 6 months with oral low doses of SKA IL-12 plus IFN-gamma and 10 cats were treated with placebo. At 1, 6 and 12 months (follow-up) after the beginning of treatment, clinical assessment, PCR assay and blood count were carried out. At follow-up, in treated group, we observed significant (p<0.05) improvements in clinical signs and PCR became negative in 12/15 cats (80%). In placebo, 10/10 cats were PCR-positive, with improvements (30%) or worsening (70%) in clinical signs. Blood values were normal in both groups. Our results show that the low dose therapy, based on activated solutions of IL-12 plus IFN-gamma, represents a novel approach to treat FHV-1 infection in cats.

Keywords: Cats; Clinical trial; Feline herpesvirus-1; Interleukin-12 plus interferon-gamma; Low dose therapy; Sequential Kinetic ActivationSequential kinetic activation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use*
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cat Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cat Diseases / virology
  • Cats
  • Conjunctivitis, Viral / drug therapy
  • Conjunctivitis, Viral / veterinary
  • DNA, Viral
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Herpesviridae Infections / drug therapy
  • Herpesviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Herpesviridae Infections / virology
  • Herpesvirus 1, Suid*
  • Interferon-gamma / administration & dosage
  • Interferon-gamma / therapeutic use*
  • Interleukin-12 / administration & dosage
  • Interleukin-12 / therapeutic use*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Virus Shedding


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antiviral Agents
  • DNA, Viral
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interferon-gamma