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Antiviral Res. 2000 Mar;45(3):157-67.

Antiviral activity of ganciclovir elaidic acid ester against herpesviruses.

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Rega Institute for Medical Research, Minderbroedersstraat 10, K.U. Leuven, B-3000, Leuven, Belgium.


A fatty acid derivative of ganciclovir (GCV), elaidic acid ganciclovir (E-GCV), has been evaluated for its inhibitory activity against laboratory and clinical strains of herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2), varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) in human embryonic lung fibroblasts. GCV, cidofovir, acyclovir (ACV), brivudin (BVDU) and foscarnet (PFA) were included as reference compounds. The viruses studied were wild-type, thymidine kinase-deficient (TK(-)) and PFA-resistant (PFA(r)) HSV strains. The IC(50) values obtained for E-GCV were 5- to 30-fold lower than those observed for GCV, the IC(50) value of E-GCV for HSV-1 strain KOS being 0.07 nM. A similarly increased activity of E-GCV (as compared to GCV) was noted for TK(-) and PFA(r) HSV-1 or HSV-2 strains. However, E-GCV did not exhibit superior activity over GCV to VZV or HCMV in vitro. The antiviral efficacy of E-GCV was also evaluated in vivo against intracerebral HSV-2 infection in NMRI mice. Animals were treated intraperitoneally or perorally with E-GCV, GCV or placebo once daily for 10 days, starting the day of infection. E-GCV compared to GCV at equimolar doses, proved markedly more efficacious than GCV in terms of reduction of mortality rate and delay of mean time of death. The elaidic acid ester of GCV should therefore be considered as a novel approach towards the treatment of HSV infections.

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