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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2017 Apr 24;61(5). pii: e02460-16. doi: 10.1128/AAC.02460-16. Print 2017 May.

The PA Endonuclease Inhibitor RO-7 Protects Mice from Lethal Challenge with Influenza A or B Viruses.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
Veterinary Pathology Core, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
Roche Innovation Center, Basel, Switzerland.
Department of Infectious Diseases, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, USA


Current influenza treatment relies on a single class of antiviral drugs, the neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs), raising concern over the potential emergence of resistant variants and necessitating the development of novel drugs. In recent years, investigational inhibitors targeting the endonuclease activity of the influenza acidic polymerase (PA) protein have yielded encouraging results, although there are only limited data on their in vivo efficacy. Here, we examined the antiviral potential of the PA endonuclease inhibitor RO-7 in prophylactic and therapeutic regimens in BALB/c mice inoculated with influenza A/California/04/2009 (H1N1)pdm09 or B/Brisbane/60/2008 viruses, which represent currently circulating antigenic variants. RO-7 was administered to mice intraperitoneally twice daily at dosages of 6, 15, or 30 mg/kg/day for 5 days, starting 4 h before or 24 or 48 h after virus inoculation, and showed no adverse effects. Prophylactic administration completely protected mice from lethal infection by influenza A or B virus. The level of therapeutic protection conferred depended upon the time of treatment initiation and RO-7 dosage, resulting in 60 to 100% and 80 to 100% survival with influenza A and B viruses, respectively. RO-7 treatment significantly decreased virus titers in the lung and lessened the extent and severity of lung damage. No PA endonuclease-inhibitor resistance was observed in viruses isolated from lungs of RO-7-treated mice, and the viruses remained susceptible to the drug at nanomolar concentrations in phenotypic assays. These in vivo efficacy results further highlight the potential of RO-7 for development as antiviral therapy for influenza A and B virus infections.


PA endonuclease; PA polymerase; antiviral; antiviral agents; influenza A virus; influenza B virus; mouse model

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