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Oral Mutian®X stopped faecal feline coronavirus shedding by naturally infected cats

Diane D. Addie, Sheryl Curran, Flora Bellini, Ben Crowe, Emily Sheehan, Lesya Ukrainchuk, Nicola Decaro
Research in veterinary science 2020 v.130 pp. 222-229
animal viruses, cats, feces, feline infectious peritonitis, guidelines, households, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcription, viral shedding, virus transmission, viruses
Feline coronavirus (FCoV) is common among cats living indoors in groups. In about 10% of infected cats, a potentially lethal disease, feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) occurs. Virus transmission is faecal-oral. Mutian® Xraphconn (Mutian X) is a product marketed to treat cats with FIP but is also being used to stop virus shedding, although no clear guidelines exist for its use for this purpose. The aim of this study was to establish the minimum dose and treatment duration required to ensure viral clearance from the faeces of asymptomatic virus-shedding cats. In five multicat households, 29 cats naturally infected with FCoV and actively shedding virus in the faeces were given Mutian X pills. Virus shedding was monitored using reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) controlled for faecal inhibitors to ensure sensitivity. Mutian X given orally cleared the virus in 29 cats; although four cats required a repeated course to finally stop virus shedding. A dose of 4 mg/kg q24 h for four days was found to be the optimal treatment protocol: 2 mg/kg cleared only 80% of cats. Post-treatment using a sensitive RT-qPCR test was essential to ensure that virus clearance had been achieved, since failure to clear even one cat can result in re-infection of the others. Records of virus shedding by cats before treatment provided a retrospective control: significantly more cats stopped shedding virus after Mutian X than recovered from infection during the control period (p < .00001). This is the first report of the successful elimination of faecal FCoV shedding in chronically infected cats.