Alison Stickney

Doctor of Philosophy, (Animal Science)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Relevance of the Variability of the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus in regard to Pathogenicity and Vaccination in New Zealand

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

The genome of the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is highly variable, but the clinical significance of this is unknown. Mrs Stickney investigated the impact of FIV genomic variation on viral pathogenicity and efficacy of the Fel-O-Vax FIV® vaccine. Her results showed that FIV variants from New Zealand differed in their ability to induce apoptosis (death) in lymphocytes in the laboratory, a characteristic related to the progression of disease in naturally infected cats. Results also showed that cells from vaccinated cats were able to recognise different variants of FIV in the laboratory. However, the vaccine did not appear to protect cats from FIV in the field, as many vaccinated cats appeared to have been subsequently infected with FIV. Mrs Stickney’s research provides preliminary evidence that genomic variation of FIV may affect pathogenicity of the virus and raises serious questions about the efficacy of the Fel-O-Vax FIV® vaccine in New Zealand.

Associate Professor Nick Cave
Dr Anton Pernthaner
Associate Professor Magda Dunowska