Effect of Exogenous Interferon and an Interferon Inducer on Western Equine Encephalitis Virus Disease in a Hamster Model
Mice are used as models for western equine encephalitis virus (WEEV) infection, but high mortality is generally only seen with intracranial or intranasal challenge, while peripheral inoculation results in approximately 50% mortality and is not dose-dependent. Hamsters were therefore studied as a model for WEEV infection. Hamsters were highly sensitive to intraperitoneal (i.p.) infection with WEEV. Disease progression was rapid, and virus titers in serum, brain, liver, and kidney of infected hamsters peaked between 2 and 4 days post-virus inoculation (dpi). Foci of virus infection were detected in neurons of the cerebral cortex and midbrain. Pre-treatment i.p. with either interferon alfacon-1 (5 μg/kg/day) or with Ampligen® (3.2 mg/kg/day) resulted in complete survival, reduced brain titers, and improved weight gain. This model of WEEV infection in hamsters appears to serve as a suitable model for the evaluation of potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of WEE disease.
Julander, J.G., Siddharthan V., Blatt L.M., Schafer K., Sidwell R.W., Morrey J.D. 2007. Effect of exogenous interferon and an interferon inducer on western euine encephalitis virus disease in a hamster model Virology 360(2): 454-460.