In vitro antiviral activity of favipiravir (T-705) against drug-resistant influenza and 2009 A(H1N1) viruses

Katrina Sleeman, Vasiliy P Mishin, Varough M Deyde, Yousuke Furuta, Alexander I Klimov, Larisa V Gubareva
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 2010, 54 (6): 2517-24
Favipiravir (T-705) has previously been shown to have a potent antiviral effect against influenza virus and some other RNA viruses in both cell culture and in animal models. Currently, favipiravir is undergoing clinical evaluation for the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. In this study, favipiravir was evaluated in vitro for its ability to inhibit the replication of a representative panel of seasonal influenza viruses, the 2009 A(H1N1) strains, and animal viruses with pandemic (pdm) potential (swine triple reassortants, H2N2, H4N2, avian H7N2, and avian H5N1), including viruses which are resistant to the currently licensed anti-influenza drugs. All viruses were tested in a plaque reduction assay with MDCK cells, and a subset was also tested in both yield reduction and focus inhibition (FI) assays. For the majority of viruses tested, favipiravir significantly inhibited plaque formation at 3.2 muM (0.5 microg/ml) (50% effective concentrations [EC(50)s] of 0.19 to 22.48 muM and 0.03 to 3.53 microg/ml), and for all viruses, with the exception of a single dually resistant 2009 A(H1N1) virus, complete inhibition of plaque formation was seen at 3.2 muM (0.5 microg/ml). Due to the 2009 pandemic and increased drug resistance in circulating seasonal influenza viruses, there is an urgent need for new drugs which target influenza. This study demonstrates that favipiravir inhibits in vitro replication of a wide range of influenza viruses, including those resistant to currently available drugs.

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