Ribavirin and interferon-beta synergistically inhibit SARS-associated coronavirus replication in animal and human cell lines

Birgit Morgenstern, Martin Michaelis, Patrick C Baer, Hans W Doerr, Jindrich Cinatl
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2005 January 28, 326 (4): 905-8
Initial in vitro investigations demonstrated type I interferons (IFNs: IFN-alpha, IFN-beta) to inhibit replication of SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), but found the nucleoside analogue ribavirin ineffective in Vero cells. In this report, ribavirin was shown to inhibit SARS-CoV replication in five different cell types of animal or human origin at therapeutically achievable concentrations. Since clinical anti-SARS-CoV activity of type I interferons or ribavirin is limited, we investigated the combination of IFN-beta and ribavirin. Determination of the virus yield indicated highly synergistic anti-SARS-CoV action of the combination suggesting the consideration of ribavirin plus IFN-beta for the treatment of SARS.

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