A new promising candidate to overcome drug resistant herpes simplex virus infections

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Abstract

Infections with Herpes simplex viruses (HSV) belong to the most common human diseases worldwide, resulting in symptoms ranging from painful, but commonly self-limiting lesions of the orofacial or genital tract to severe infections of the eye or life-threatening generalized infections. Frequent HSV-reactivations at the eye may lead to the development of herpetic stromal keratitis, which is one of the major causes of infectious blindness in developed countries. The vast majority of life-threatening generalized infections occur in immunocompromised individuals, such as transplant recipients or patients suffering from advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection with concurrent HSV-reactivation. Over the past decades, Acyclovir (ACV) became the golden standard for the treatment of HSV infections. However, long-term antiviral treatment, as it is required mainly in immunocompromised patients, led to the emergence of resistances towards ACV and other antivirals. Therefore, there is a clear need for the development of new potent antivirals which combine good oral bioavailability and tolerability with low side effects. In the current study we present SC93305 as a novel potent antiviral substance that proved to be highly effective not only against different HSV-1 and HSV-2 strains but also towards ACV- and multi-resistant HSV-1 and HSV-2 isolates. SC93305 shows comparable antiviral activity as reported for ACV and very importantly it does not interfere with the activation of specific immune cells. Here we report that SC93305 does not affect the biological function of dendritic cells (DC), the most potent antigen presenting cells of the immune system to induce antiviral immune responses, nor T cell stimulation or the release of inflammatory cytokines. Thus, SC93305 is a new and promising candidate for the treatment of HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections and in particular also for the inhibition of drug-resistant HSV-1/2 strains.

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