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J Virol. 2009 Nov;83(21):11385-90. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01363-09. Epub 2009 Aug 26.

Rhesus theta-defensin prevents death in a mouse model of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus pulmonary disease.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


We evaluated the efficacy of rhesus theta-defensin 1 (RTD-1), a novel cyclic antimicrobial peptide, as a prophylactic antiviral in a mouse model of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (CoV) lung disease. BALB/c mice exposed to a mouse-adapted strain of SARS-CoV demonstrated 100% survival and modest reductions in lung pathology without reductions in virus titer when treated with two intranasal doses of RTD-1, while mortality in untreated mice was approximately 75%. RTD-1-treated, SARS-CoV-infected mice displayed altered lung tissue cytokine responses 2 and 4 days postinfection compared to those of untreated animals, suggesting that one possible mechanism of action for RTD-1 is immunomodulatory.

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