Increased sensitivity of SARS-coronavirus to a combination of human type I and type II interferons

Carolina Scagnolari, Elisa Vicenzi, Francesca Bellomi, Maria Giuseppina Stillitano, Debora Pinna, Guido Poli, Massimo Clementi, Ferdinando Dianzani, Guido Antonelli
Antiviral Therapy 2004, 9 (6): 1003-11
There is currently an urgent need to identify effective antiviral agents that will prevent and treat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection. In this study, we have investigated and compared the antiviral effect of different interferons (IFNs) on SARS-CoV replication in the epithelial kidney monkey Vero cell line. The results showed that SARS-CoV grown in Vero cells is moderately sensitive to IFN-beta and only weakly sensitive to IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma, in comparison to other IFN-sensitive viruses, such as those for encephalomyocarditis, vesicular stomatitis and Newcastle disease. Simultaneous incubation of Vero cells with IFN-beta and IFN-gamma indicated that they may act synergistically against SARS-CoV replication. The IFN-induced MxA protein was detected in the IFN-treated Vero cells. The data, however, suggest that the antiviral activity of IFN against SARS-CoV virus is independent of MxA expression.

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