Safety and efficacy studies of live- and killed-feline leukemia virus vaccines.

N. C. Pedersen, G. H. Theilen, L. L. Werner

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22 Scopus citations


The safety and the efficacy of several feline leukemia virus (FeLV) vaccines for 16-week-old kittens were determined. Vaccines were derived from an FL74 lymphoblastoid cell line that has been in continuous tissue culture passage for about 4 years. The vaccines were made from living virus, formaldehyde-inactivated whole FL74 cells, and formaldehyde-inactivated whole virus. The efficacy of each produced vaccine was determined by challenge exposure of vaccinated cats with virulent FeLV. The two formaldehyde-inactivated vaccines were found to be safe for use in kittens. Neither vaccine produce a significant feline oncornavirus-associated cell membrane antigen or virus-neutralizing antibody response, nor did they prevent infection with virulent FeLV. The inactivated whole-virus vaccine, however, did substantially decrease the proportion of kittens infected with virulent FeLV that became persistently viremic. In contrast, the whole FL74 cell vaccine did not reduce the number of infected kittens that became persistently viremic. The live-virus vaccine was found to be both safe and efficacious. About a half of the kittens vaccinated with live virus had transient bone marrow infection that lasted from 2 to 4 weeks. Viral antigen was not detected in peripheral blood, and infective virus was not shed in saliva, urine, or feces during the period that the vaccinal virus could be recovered from the bone marrow. In addition, there was no horizontal spread of vaccinal virus from vaccinated to non-vaccinated cagemates. Within several weeks, vaccinated kittens demonstrated no clinical or hematologic abnormalities and had high serum levels of feline oncornavirus-associated cell membrane antigen and virus-neutralizing antibody. Kittens vaccinated with living FeLV were resistant to infection with virulent virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1120-1126
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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