Effects of Four Antiviral Substances on Lethal Vaccinia Virus (IHD Strain) Respiratory Infections in Mice

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International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents







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Intranasal infection of BALB/c mice with the IHD strain of vaccinia virus was found to cause pneumonia, profound weight loss and death. Cidofovir, hexadecyloxypropyl-cidofovir (HDP-CDV), the diacetate ester prodrug of 2-amino-7-[(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxy)methyl]purine (HOE961), and ribavirin were used to treat the infections starting 24 h after virus exposure. Single intraperitoneal (i.p.) cidofovir treatments of 100 and 30 mg/kg led to 90–100% survival compared with no survivors in the placebo group, whereas a 10 mg/kg dose was ineffective. The 100 mg/kg treatment reduced lung and snout virus titres on day 3 of the infection by 20- and 8-fold, respectively. Mean arterial oxygen saturation levels in these two cidofovir treatment groups were significantly higher than placebo on days 4 through 6 of the infection, indicating an improvement in lung function. Effects of cidofovir on viral pathogenesis were studied on days 1, 3 and 5 of the infection, and demonstrated statistically significant reductions in lung consolidation scores, lung weights, lung virus titre and snout virus titres on days 3 and 5. Cidofovir treatment also reduced virus titres in other tissues and body fluid, including blood, brain, heart, liver, salivary gland and spleen. HDP-CDV was given by oral gavage at 100, 50 and 25 mg/kg doses one time only, resulting in 80–100% survival. Lower daily oral doses of 10 and 5 mg/kg per day given for 5 days protected only 30% of animals from death. Oral doses (100, 50 and 25 mg/kg per day) of HOE961 for 5 days protected all animals, whereas equivalent oral doses of ribavirin were completely ineffective. The rapidity of recovery from weight loss during the infection was a function of dose of compound administered. These data indicate the utility of parenteral cidofovir, oral HDP-CDV and oral HOE961 in treating severe respiratory infections caused by this virus.