Two experimental feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vaccines were tested, either alone or in combination, in four groups of cats (A-D). One vaccine (SL3261-FIV) was composed of live attenuated Salmonella typhimurium aroA (SL3261) strains expressing the capsid (Gag) and part of the envelope (Env) proteins of FIV. The other was composed of FIV Gag and Env proteins incorporated into immune-stimulating complexes (iscom-FIV). Cats of group A were immunized four times with SL3261-FIV. Cats of group B were immunized twice with SL3261-FIV and then twice with iscom-FIV. Cats of group C were immunized twice with SL3261 expressing the B subunit of cholera toxin (SL3261-CtxB) and then twice with iscom-FIV. Cats of group D, which served as negative controls, were immunized twice with SL3261-CtxB and then twice with iscom into which the Gag and Env proteins of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) had been incorporated (iscom-SIV). Two weeks after the last immunization, all cats were challenged with FIV. At this time, cats immunized with iscom-FIV (groups B and C) showed strong plasma antibody responses to Gag and Env, whilst these responses were weak or undetectable in the cats immunized four times with SL3261-FIV (group A). Seven weeks after FIV challenge, Env-specific antibody responses had increased considerably in cats of all groups except group A. The mean virus loads in the cats of this group proved to be lower than those of the other groups at all time points, indicating partial protection.


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