Comparison of three dimensional synergistic analyses of percentage versus logarithmic data in antiviral studies

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Cell culture antiviral experiments were conducted in order to understand the relationship between percentage data generated by plaque reduction (PR) and logarithmic data derived by virus yield reduction (VYR) assays, using three-dimensional MacSynergy II software. The relationship between percentage and logarithmic data has not been investigated previously. Interpretation of drug-drug interactions is based on a Volume of Synergy (VS) calculation, which can be positive (synergy), negative (antagonistic), or neutral (no or minimal interaction). Interactions of two known inhibitors of vaccinia virus replication, cidofovir and 6-azauridine, used in combination by PR assay yielded a VS value of 265, indicative of strong synergy. By VYR, the VS value was only 37, or weak synergy using the same criterion, even though profound log10 reductions in virus titer occurred at multiple drug combinations. These results confirm that the differences in VS values is dependent of the measurement scale, and not that the degree of synergy differed between the assays. We propose that for logarithmic data, the calculated VS values will be lower for significant synergy and antagonism and that volumes of >10 μM2log10 PFU/ml (or other units such as μM2log10 genomic equivalents/ml or μM2log10 copies/ml) and <-10 μM2log10 PFU/ml are likely to be indicative of strong synergy and strong antagonism, respectively. Data presented here show that the interaction of cidofovir and 6-azauridine was strongly synergistic in vitro.

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