070137: Bacterial Artificial Chromosome of Feline Herpesvirus-1


According to the U.S. Humane Society, nearly 36 percent of U.S. households own at least one of the approximately 90 million owned cats, and 56 percent of owners have more than one. Cats are susceptible to feline herpes virus (FHV-1), the agent of feline viral rhinotracheitis, which accounts for more than 50 percent of all infectious upper respiratory disease in cats and is an important cause of feline ocular lesions.



Michigan State University’s technology involves a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clone containing the complete and annotated genome of FHV-1 for vaccine and diagnostic development. Having the entire FHV-1 genome sequenced allows researchers to specifically target deletions in new locations on the virus for the development of a novel vaccine. Furthermore, it enables the development of a diagnostic test that is able to determine if an infected cat’s virus came from its vaccination or exposure to a field virus.



·         Broadly effective vaccine: This technology can enable multivalent vaccines as well as a vaccine for FHV-1.

·         Easier and more efficient process to identify new candidate vaccines: The BAC plasmid backbone, excisable from the viral sequences, can be inserted directly into cell culture and cats to test for virulence.

·         Safer vaccine: The introduction of site specific mutations in the genome could produce a less virulent vaccine than current formulations.

·         Better protection at infection site: Intranasal (IN) administration made possible by BAC allows for a more rapid cell mediated and humoral response at the site of infection.

·         Easier method for functional studies of FHV-1 genes: The intact viral genome enables additional studies in genetic functional analysis.

·         New differentiation of infection and vaccinated animals (DIVA) diagnostic test: Targeted deletions on novel sections of the genome provide a means to determine if clinical signs are due to the vaccine or exposure to a field virus.



Companion animal vaccine and diagnostic companies could use this technology to create FHV-1 vaccine candidates and correlated DIVA tests. A more effective FHV-1 vaccine would be of high interest to veterinarians and shelter personnel.


IP Protection Status

Patent pending


Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Randy Ramharack
Technology Manager
Michigan State University - Test