Antiviral activity of Favipiravir (T-705) against a broad range of paramyxoviruses in vitro and against Human Metapneumovirus in hamsters

Jochmans, D., van Nieuwkoop, S., Smits, S. L., Neyts, J., Fouchier, R. A. M., & Van Den Hoogen, B. G.

Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy (2016): AAC-00709.

The clinical impact of infections with respiratory viruses belonging to the family Paramyxoviridae argues for the development of antiviral therapies with broad-spectrum activity. Favipiravir (T-705) has demonstrated potent antiviral activity against multiple RNA virus families and is presently in clinical evaluation for the treatment of influenza. Here we demonstrate in vitro activity of T-705 against the paramyxoviruses human metapneumovirus (HMPV), respiratory syncytial virus, human parainfluenza virus, measles virus, Newcastle disease virus, and avian metapneumovirus. In addition, we demonstrate activity against HMPV in hamsters. T-705 treatment inhibited replication of all paramyxoviruses tested in vitro, with 90% effective concentration (EC90) values of 8 to 40 μM. Treatment of HMPV-challenged hamsters with T-705 at 200 mg/kg of body weight/day resulted in 100% protection from infection of the lungs. In all treated and challenged animals, viral RNA remained detectable in the respiratory tract. The observation that T-705 treatment had a significant effect on infectious viral titers, with a limited effect on viral genome titers, is in agreement with its proposed mode of action of viral mutagenesis. However, next-generation sequencing of viral genomes isolated from treated and challenged hamsters did not reveal (hyper)mutation. Polymerase activity assays revealed a specific effect of T-705 on the activity of the HMPV polymerase. With the reported antiviral activity of T-705 against a broad range of RNA virus families, this small molecule is a promising broad-range antiviral drug candidate for limiting the viral burden of paramyxoviruses and for evaluation for treatment of infections with (re)emerging viruses, such as the henipaviruses.

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