Comparison of the inhibition of human metapneumovirus and respiratory syncytial virus by NMSO3 in tissue culture assays

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Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is a recently elucidated respiratory virus pathogen for which there are no agents currently licensed to prevent or treat infections caused by it. However, NMSO3 has been reported to inhibit replication of human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV), a virus that is closely related to hMPV, both in vitro in tissue culture cells and in vivo in cotton rats. For this reason, experiments were performed to compare the antiviral activity of NMSO3 against both hRSV and hMPV in tissue culture-based assays. Heparin and ribavirin, two other compounds known to inhibit hRSV, and two other paramyxoviruses, human parainfluenza virus type 3 (PIV3) and measles virus (MV), were included in these tests for comparison. All three compounds significantly inhibited the replication of subtype A and B strains of hRSV and serotypes 1 and 2 hMPV. However, unlike ribavirin, NMSO3 and heparin inhibited only hMPV and hRSV and not PIV3 or MV. Also unlike ribavirin, the activity of the two sulfated molecules was most effective if these materials were present during virus attachment and penetration of host cells. Interestingly, NMSO3, but not heparin, was able to limit secondary infection and spread of both viruses.

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