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J Virol. 1996 April; 70(4): 2503–2507.
PMCID: PMC190095

Plasma viral RNA load predicts disease progression in accelerated feline immunodeficiency virus infection.


Viral RNA load has been shown to indicate disease stage and predict the rapidity of disease progression in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected individuals. We had previously demonstrated that feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) RNA levels in plasma correlate with disease stage in infected cats. Here we expand upon those observations by demonstrating that plasma virus load is 1 to 2 logs higher in cats with rapidly progressive FIV disease than in long-term survivors. Differences in plasma FIV RNA levels are evident by 1 to 2 weeks after infection and are consistent throughout infection. We also evaluated humoral immune responses in FIV-infected cats for correlation with survival times. Total anti-FIV antibody titers did not differ between cats with rapidly progressive FIV disease and long-term survivors. These findings indicate that virus replication plays an important role in FIV disease progression, as it does in HIV-1 disease progression. The parallels in virus loads and disease progressions between HIV-1 and FIV support the idea that the accelerated disease model is well suited for the study of therapeutic agents directed at reducing lentiviral replication.

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