The goal of this study was to formally evaluate the administration of unlicensed, crowd-sourced antiviral GS-441524-like therapy for cats suspected to have feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a previously fatal disease. Members of a large social media support and GS-441524-like drug distribution group were surveyed via the Internet. The survey was targeted toward owners who had treated their cats for at least 12 weeks with unlicensed GS-441524-like drugs. Of the 393 analyzed surveys which met inclusion criteria, 73.7% of owners utilizing this therapy were from the United States. Only 8.7% of owners reported receiving help from their veterinarian in administering the treatment to their cat. The mean cost of treatment was USD 4920. A majority of owners (88.2%) reported noticeable improvement in clinical signs within one week of initiating therapy. At the time of the survey, 96.7% (380 cats) were alive, with 54.0% of them considered cured and another 43.3% being monitored in the 12-week observation period. A total of 12.7% of the cats suffered a relapse of clinical signs of FIP, and 3.3% of the cats died despite GS-441524-like therapy. Reported complications were mostly related to owner administration of subcutaneous injections of the acidic GS-441525-like therapy, such as vocalization, pain, struggling, and injection-site wounds. Limitations of this study include a retrospective design, bias in case selection, reliance on owner-reported data, and inability to confirm the contents of unlicensed pharmaceuticals; however, important lessons can be learned from the experiences of these owners. While unconventional, and certainly not free from medical and legal risks, unlicensed, at-home GS-441524-like therapy, according to owner reports, can apparently offer benefits in the treatment of cats suspected of FIP.
Keywords: COVID-19; FIP; GS-441524; black market; cat; coronavirus; remdesivir.