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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2009 Dec;53(12):4999-5009. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00678-09. Epub 2009 Sep 14.

ST-246 inhibits in vivo poxvirus dissemination, virus shedding, and systemic disease manifestation.

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  • 1SIGA Technologies, Inc., Corvallis, OR 97333, USA.


Orthopoxvirus infections, such as smallpox, can lead to severe systemic disease and result in considerable morbidity and mortality in immunologically naïve individuals. Treatment with ST-246, a small-molecule inhibitor of virus egress, has been shown to provide protection against severe disease and death induced by several members of the poxvirus family, including vaccinia, variola, and monkeypox viruses. Here, we show that ST-246 treatment not only results in the significant inhibition of vaccinia virus dissemination from the site of inoculation to distal organs, such as the spleen and liver, but also reduces the viral load in organs targeted by the dissemination. In mice intranasally infected with vaccinia virus, virus shedding from the nasal and lung mucosa was significantly lower (approximately 22- and 528-fold, respectively) upon ST-246 treatment. Consequently, virus dissemination from the nasal site of replication to the lung also was dramatically reduced, as evidenced by a 179-fold difference in virus levels in nasal versus bronchoalveolar lavage. Furthermore, in ACAM2000-immunized mice, vaccination site swabs showed that ST-246 treatment results in a major (approximately 3,900-fold by day 21) reduction in virus detected at the outside surfaces of lesions. Taken together, these data suggest that ST-246 would play a dual protective role if used during a smallpox bioterrorist attack. First, ST-246 would provide therapeutic benefit by reducing the disease burden and lethality in infected individuals. Second, by reducing virus shedding from those prophylactically immunized with a smallpox vaccine or harboring variola virus infection, ST-246 could reduce the risk of virus transmission to susceptible contacts.

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