Efficacy of N-Methanocarbathymidine in Treating Mice Infected Intranasally with the IHD and WR Strains of Vaccinia Virus

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Antiviral Research







Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



N-Methanocarbathymidine [(N)-MCT] is a newly identified inhibitor of orthopoxvirus replication in cell culture and in mice. Limited published animal studies indicated the compound is effective by intraperitoneal (i.p.) route at 10–100 mg/(kg day). More extensive studies using different treatment regimens in intranasally infected mice were conducted in order to further explore the potential of this compound compared to cidofovir in treating vaccinia virus infections. (N)-MCT was given twice a day for 7 days, whereas cidofovir was administered once a day for 2 days, each starting 24 h after virus exposure for most experiments. (N)-MCT was not toxic up to 1000 mg/(kg day) by the i.p. treatment route. Oral and i.p. treatment regimens with (N)-MCT were directly compared during a vaccinia virus (IHD strain) infection, indicating that the nucleoside has good oral bioavailability in mice. Treatments by i.p. route with (N)-MCT (100 mg/(kg day)) reduced lung, nasal, and brain virus titers during an IHD virus infection, but not nearly to the same extent as i.p. cidofovir (100 mg/(kg day)). Treatment with both compounds decreased liver, spleen, and kidney virus titers, as well as reduced lung consolidation scores and lung weights. Onset of treatment could be delayed by 2 days with (N)-MCT and by 3 days with cidofovir, providing significant survival benefit during the IHD virus infection. Against a vaccinia virus (WR strain) infection in mice, i.p. (N)-MCT treatment prevented death at 500 mg/(kg day), which was comparable in activity to i.p. cidofovir (100 mg/(kg day)). Significant reductions in tissue virus titers occurred with both treatment regimens. (N)-MCT could be further pursued for its potential to treat orthopoxvirus infections in humans.