Attempted immunization of cats against feline infectious peritonitis, using avirulent live virus or sublethal amounts of virulent virus

Am J Vet Res. 1983 Feb;44(2):229-34.


Kittens vaccinated with an avirulent biotype of the Black strain of feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV; given oronasally) developed both indirect fluorescent and virus-neutralizing antibodies, but were not protected against oronasal challenge exposure with virulent virus. In fact, kittens vaccinated with avirulent virus were more readily infected than were nonvaccinated cats. A proportion of kittens could be immunized to FIPV by giving sublethal amounts of virulent virus. This technique, however, was too inconsistent and hazardous to have clinical relevance. The results of these studies indicated that humoral immunity was not protective in FIPV infection. There was no correlation between fluorescent and virus-neutralizing antibodies and either disease or immunity. Immune serum from FIPV-resistant cats failed to passively protect susceptible animals against virulent virus given intraperitoneally or oronasally, and as expected, actually sensitized them to infection. It was concluded that cell-mediated immunity was probably responsible for protection.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Cat Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cats
  • Coronaviridae / immunology*
  • Coronaviridae / pathogenicity
  • Coronaviridae Infections / prevention & control
  • Coronaviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal / veterinary
  • Peritonitis / prevention & control
  • Peritonitis / veterinary*
  • Vaccination / veterinary
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / immunology
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology*
  • Virulence


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Vaccines, Attenuated
  • Viral Vaccines