Title

Treatment of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus Infection with (-)-Carbodine

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Antiviral Research

Volume

80

Issue

3

Publisher

Elsevier

Publication Date

2008

First Page

309

Last Page

315

DOI

10.1016/j.antiviral.2008.07.002

Abstract

Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) may cause encephalitis in humans, for which no FDA-approved antiviral treatment is available. Carbocyclic cytosine (carbodine) has broad-spectrum activity but toxicity has limited its utility. It was anticipated that one of the enantiomers of carbodine would show enhanced activity and reduced toxicity. The activity of the d-(−) enantiomer of carbodine [(−)-carbodine] was evaluated by infectious cell culture assay and was found to have a 50% effective concentration (EC50) of 0.2 μg/ml against the TC-83 vaccine strain of VEEV in Vero cells, while the l-(+) enantiomer had no activity. Virus titer inhibition correlated with intracellular cytidine triphosphate reduction after treatment with (−)-carbodine, as determined by HPLC analysis. Pre-treatment with 200 mg/(kg d) resulted in significant improvement in survival, virus load in the brain, weight change, and mean day-to-death in a mouse model of TC-83 VEEV disease. A single dose of (−)-carbodine resulted in a slight extension of mean time to death in mice infected with wild-type VEEV. Post-virus exposure treatment with (−)-carbodine was effective in significantly improving disease parameters in mice infected with TC-83 VEEV when treatment was initiated as late as 4 days post-virus installation (dpi). It is remarkable that (−)-carbodine is effective when initiated after the establishment of brain infection.