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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Antiviral activity of 5-ethyl-2'-deoxyuridine against herpes simplex viruses in cell culture, mice, and guinea pigs.

The susceptibility of 3 laboratory strains and 24 clinical isolates of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2) to 5-ethyl-2'-deoxyuridine was determined in plaque reduction assays in Vero cells. The median effective doses were 8.6 and 7.8 microM, respectively. The drug was less potent than acyclovir and other related antiviral drugs, but it had a high therapeutic index against both HSV-1 and HSV-2. Drug-resistant viruses were readily produced in cell culture. These variants were cross-resistant to acyclovir, 2'-fluoro-5-iodoaracytosine, and 2'-fluoro-5-methylarauracil but were susceptible to vidarabine or phosphonoformate. These findings confirm that the selective antiviral activity of 5-ethyl-2'-deoxyuridine is mediated by the virus-induced thymidine kinase. Oral or intraperitoneal administration of the drug at nontoxic doses was ineffective in protecting mice against intracerebral challenge with virus. Using implanted osmotic minipumps or coadministering the drug with dimethyl sulfoxide failed to decrease the mortality rate. In guinea pigs infected genitally with HSV-2, topical drug treatment was more effective than placebo in reducing lesion severity and other clinical and virological variables. These effects were noted whether the drug treatment was initiated 3 or 24 h after infection (ascertained serologically). Drug-treated animals had a significantly lower herpes antibody titer than did placebo-treated guinea pigs, suggesting that the drug can also reduce the viral antigen load. In this model, the drug appeared to be as effective as topical phosphonoformate or acyclovir.[1]


  1. Antiviral activity of 5-ethyl-2'-deoxyuridine against herpes simplex viruses in cell culture, mice, and guinea pigs. Schinazi, R.F., Scott, R.T., Peters, J., Rice, V., Nahmias, A.J. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1985) [Pubmed]
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