Everyone knows that petting a cat can lower your blood pressure and make you feel more calm and relaxed. Now researchers from the University of Florida and the University of California, San Francisco, have discovered that blood from patients infected with HIV shows an immune response against a feline AIDS virus protein.
Janet Yamamoto, professor of retroviral immunology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida, told Medical News Today:
“Since FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) and HIV-1 are distant cousins and their sequences are similar, we used the T cells from HIV positive human subjects to see if they can react and induce anti-HIV activity to small regions of FIV protein, which lead to the current story.”
Dr. Jay A. Levy, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and study author, said “the cat virus resembles the human virus sufficiently so that this cross-reaction can be observed.”
If one day scientists discover a vaccine for HIV, they can thank their cats for the research with copious amounts of cat food and lots of catnip thrown in for good measure.