Niels Pedersen Genetics and Immunology Lab

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The Niels Pedersen laboratory conducts research into feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), which is one of the most complex infectious diseases of human and animal. Many great discoveries on FIP have come out of UC Davis and Pedersen’s laboratory, including the first propagation of the causative coronavirus in tissue culture, recognition of its close relationship to common coronaviruses of other species, the development of an antibody test for feline coronavirus, and the recognition that the FIP virus (FIPV) was an uncommon mutation of a ubiquitous and largely non-pathogenic feline enteric coronavirus (FECV). A number of studies defining FECV infection in nature and how mutations in FECV lead to FIP followed. Attempts to develop vaccines against the disease failed, leading to studies on how to decrease the incidence of disease in catteries, shelters and other high-risk environments by changes in husbandry and genetic selection. A solution may come from the first field trial of a promising anti-FIPV drug, which has just started.