Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

Inhibition of B virus (Macacine herpesvirus 1) by conventional and experimental antiviral compounds.

PMID 19858259


B virus infection of humans results in high morbidity and mortality in as many as 80% of identified cases. The main objective of this study was to conduct a comparative analysis of conventional and experimental antiviral drug susceptibilities of B virus isolates from multiple macaque species and zoonotically infected humans. We used a plaque reduction assay to establish the effective inhibitory doses of acyclovir, ganciclovir, and vidarabine, as well as those of a group of experimental nucleoside analogs with known anti-herpes simplex virus activity. Four of the experimental drugs tested were 10- to 100-fold more potent inhibitors of B virus replication than conventional antiviral agents. Drug efficacies were similar for multiple B virus isolates tested, with variations within 2-fold of the median effective concentration (EC(50)) for each drug, and each EC(50) was considerably lower than those for B virus thymidine kinase (TK) mutants. We observed no differences in the viral TK amino acid sequence between B virus isolates from rhesus monkeys and those from human zoonoses. Differences in the TK protein sequence between cynomolgus and pigtail macaque B virus isolates did not affect drug sensitivity except in the case of one compound. Taken together, these data suggest that future B virus zoonoses will respond consistently to conventional antiviral treatment. Further, the considerably higher potency of FEAU (2'-fluoro-5-ethyl-Ara-U) than of conventional antiviral drugs argues for its compassionate use in advanced human B virus infections.