Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors




Viral infections that are often overlooked as common seasonal illnesses such as influenza can rapidly become a public threat. They threaten society as new, more dangerous strains of these common viruses emerge and as strains develop resistance to current vaccines and antiviral treatments (Kochanek, Murphy, Xu, & Tejada-Vera, 2014). To combat this, the development of antiviral treatments with novel mechanisms of action is essential. Repurposing drugs instead of developing new drugs can save years of development time and hundreds of millions of dollars (DiMasi, Hansen, & Grabowski, 2003). To support the effort to discover drugs with unique mechanisms of action, a library of commercially available compounds was screened for antiviral activity. The compounds were tested against influenza A virus, enterovirus 068 (EV-068), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and parainfluenza virus (PIV). In addition, fluoxetine hydrochloride (Prozac®) was tested for activity against EV-068 as a proof-of-concept to verify our methodology and to support the idea that repurposed drugs may have antiviral activity with potential to function as effective treatments.

Antiviral activity was tested using in vitro antiviral assays that measure virus-induced cytopathic effect (CPE) in the presence of test compounds. CPE was measured by neutral red (NR) staining. Partial antiviral activity was observed for several compounds against influenza, and that activity was confirmed using a direct virus yield reduction assay (VYR) for multiple drug concentrations. However, no antiviral activity was observed for any of the compounds evaluated against EV-068, RSV, or PIV. The drugs with anti-influenza activity may have potential for further development into effective antiviral treatments.



Faculty Mentor

Craig Day

Departmental Honors Advisor

Kimberly Sullivan