Effect of Ribavirin on the Plasma Viral DNA Load in Patients with Disseminating Adenovirus Infection

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Adenovirus (AdV) infections are an increasingly frequent and potentially fatal complication in allogeneic stem cell transplant recipients. To determine the antiviral potential of ribavirin in an unbiased way, 4 patients without immune recovery were prospectively analyzed by quantitative measurement of plasma AdV DNA load. Administration of ribavirin at the first signs of AdV dissemination was not accompanied by a decrease in the plasma AdV DNA load in any of these patients, and an increase in the AdV load was even documented in 3. These observations question the potential of ribavirin to improve the outcome for patients with disseminating AdV infection and support a critical evaluation of antiviral treatments for AdV infection that involves the kinetics of virus DNA load as an objective parameter of viral replication.

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