GS441: The Myths and the Facts
GS441524 is a nucleoside analog that cures FIP in a cats. It acts as an alternative substrate. It is also an RNA-chain terminator of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase.
In Layman’s terms, GS441 interjects itself into the chain reaction of the virus. The medication stops it from replicating, and cures the cat of FIP.
So, why isn’t this miracle cure available at the vet’s office to cure a cat with FIP?
The patent for the GS441524 was available by Gilead Science. It was used in the human Ebola drug, Remdesivir.
In 2017, Dr. Niels Pedersen had access to the molecule for FIP research. The various field studies proved that GS441 cured twenty-five out of twenty-six cats with FIP. Moreover, it cured all forms of FIP, including the toughest forms: the ocular and the neuro FIP.
As of today, the twenty-five cats that survived the field study are alive and thriving, with no recurrence of the virus. But the fact that GS441 could cure a cat with FIP was never the intent of Gilead Science. They don’t even have a veterinary division. As such, they never produce this medication for cats.
In September 2019, field studies of Remdesivir for the human Ebolavirus failed. Gilead withdrew its FDA application. They are now researching alternative human applications for the molecule.
Gilead would consider releasing the veterinary use patent to another manufacturer. A manufacturer that has a veterinary division. This patent would create a human anti-viral drug with this molecule and get FDA approval.
This could be years, could be a decade, before it comes to fruition. Meanwhile, thousands of cats are dying, while the cure sits on Gilead’s shelf.
The raw chemical compound for this drug is available from several bio-labs.
The instructions for the diluent are in the GS441524 Safety & Efficacy Study. It’s not exactly something a regular person could whip up in their kitchen. But it does not need a Ph.D. in Chemistry, either.
It didn’t take long after the release of the field study for a several China-based labs and universities to start manufacturing black market versions of GS.
While these drugs are unregulated and non-FDA approved, they are not illegal. They’re discussed online, in veterinary publications, at FIP seminars and symposiums, etc.
One of the manufacturers recently participated as a vendor at the NYC Vet Show.
GS is currently available in two forms:
- An injectable drug
- An oral capsule/tablet.
With either form, the treatment protocol involves eighty-four days of daily dosing. This also involves an 84 day observation period.
The daily dose depends on:
- The weight of the cat
- The form of FIP
- The concentration of the medication.
During the initial treatment period, rechecking of the lab occurs at four, eight, and twelve weeks. The same is also done during the observation period.
If there is no relapse during the 84 day observation period, the cat becomes cured.
If there is a relapse, the cat will need to extend treatment further than the initial twelve weeks. The success rate for curling FIP with GS is around 90%.
The cost of treatment ranges from $700 – $10,000, again depending on the cat’s:
- Type of FIP
- The brand of GS used.
The vast majority of treatment falls into the $1500-3000 range. For twelve weeks, excluding diagnostics and/or vet exams.
Does Pet Insurance Cover The Expenses of a Cat with FIP?
Pet insurance cannot cover the GS, due to it being non-FDA approved. But the insurers will cover all other FIP-related expenses.
Does GS441524 Treatment Have Any Side Effects When Curing an Infected Cat?
There are no significant side effects with GS.
With the injectable form, the diluent is acidic, so some cats may develop minor sores at the injection sites. The vast majority of them heal on their own without complication or intervention. However, if sores get infected, they might require a course of antibiotics.
With the oral form, the capsules may cause vomiting. This especially occurs early on in the course of treatment.
As far as long-term effects, we can only go back as far as the field studies in 2017. There have been none reported.