WHY IS THERE HOPE NOW FOR FIP BREAKTHROUGHS?
It is true that there is currently no cure, or totally effective prevention. But researchers understand the virus and the infection much better now. They have new tools that allow them to look at viruses at the molecular level. Any knowledge about the virus and how the host cat responds to it will have influence down the road. The Feline Genome has been sequenced, and with this important new feline DNA roadmap researchers will be able to identify viral genes responsible for causing disease (which will facilitate antiviral drug development) and host genes that confer resistance/susceptibility (which will facilitate genetic control).
Understanding how the immune system affects both resistance and the form of FIP (wet vs. dry) will also be important. Immunity studies will focus on how to modify the immune system's reaction to the virus. Understanding how to block inflammation and the development of anti-viral drugs would be ways to fight FIP. There is no reason why these can't be developed. Drugs could be developed and used in FIP with some effect - like HIV/AIDS it could become a manageable disease
If the genetic basis for susceptibility can be identified, genetic testing would allow breeders to breed out the trait over several generations, while preserving valuable bloodlines. This is exactly what breeders are doing with many other genetic diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease in Persians and breeds with Persian blood. It potentially could also identify random bred cats that are at risk for the disease, allowing caretakers to reduce FIP deaths in shelters by limiting exposure to stressful environments or other factors.