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J Virol. 2014 Jan;88(2):878-89. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02275-13. Epub 2013 Nov 6.

Inhibition of arenavirus by A3, a pyrimidine biosynthesis inhibitor.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA.


Arenaviruses merit significant interest as important human pathogens, since several of them cause severe hemorrhagic fever disease that is associated with high morbidity and significant mortality. Currently, there are no FDA-licensed arenavirus vaccines available, and current antiarenaviral therapy is limited to an off-labeled use of the nucleoside analog ribavirin, which has limited prophylactic efficacy. The pyrimidine biosynthesis inhibitor A3, which was identified in a high-throughput screen for compounds that blocked influenza virus replication, exhibits a broad-spectrum antiviral activity against negative- and positive-sense RNA viruses, retroviruses, and DNA viruses. In this study, we evaluated the antiviral activity of A3 against representative Old World (lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus) and New World (Junin virus) arenaviruses in rodent, monkey, and human cell lines. We show that A3 is significantly more efficient than ribavirin in controlling arenavirus multiplication and that the A3 inhibitory effect is in part due to its ability to interfere with viral RNA replication and transcription. We document an additive antiarenavirus effect of A3 and ribavirin, supporting the potential combination therapy of ribavirin and pyrimidine biosynthesis inhibitors for the treatment of arenavirus infections.

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