Margaret Hosie research
FIV is a widespread pathogen of both domestic cats and wild felids, and is the feline equivalent of HIV in humans. The clinical course of FIV infection is variable, depending on factors such as the infecting strain of virus and the age and health status of the cat.
We don't yet know why some cats rapidly develop AIDS, while disease progression is slow in others. As there are an estimated 8 million cats in the United Kingdom, conservative estimates would suggest that at any given time at least half a million healthy cats may be infected with FIV or FeLV.
Our goal is to understand how FIV evolves in naturally infected cats as disease progresses — can we predict whether disease is more likely to progress in an individual cat depending on specific host or virus factors? Such information will assist veterinarians in practice, as well as cat rescue shelters re-homing FIV-infected cats.
The development of FeLV and FIV vaccines is a clearly a priority issue for the welfare of cats. As a direct result of the ground-breaking work of researchers at the University of Glasgow, vaccination against feline leukaemia virus is now available in veterinary practices throughout the country. Based on the success of these studies on FeLV, the Retrovirus Research Laboratory is now focusing on the development of an effective vaccine for FIV and the elimination of feline AIDS.