Ribavirin inhibits West Nile virus replication and cytopathic effect in neural cells

J Infect Dis. 2000 Oct;182(4):1214-7. doi: 10.1086/315847. Epub 2000 Aug 22.


West Nile virus (WNV) is an emerging mosquito-borne pathogen that was reported for the first time in the Western hemisphere in August 1999, when an encephalitis outbreak in New York City resulted in 62 clinical cases and 7 deaths. WNV, for which no antiviral therapy has been described, was recently recovered from a pool of mosquitoes collected in New York City. In anticipation of the recurrence of WNV during the summer of 2000, an analysis was made of the efficacy of the nucleoside analogue ribavirin, a broad-spectrum antiviral compound with activity against several RNA viruses, for treatment of WNV infection. High doses of ribavirin were found to inhibit WNV replication and cytopathogenicity in human neural cells in vitro.

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Oligodendroglia / drug effects
  • Oligodendroglia / pathology
  • Oligodendroglia / virology*
  • Ribavirin / pharmacology*
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*
  • West Nile Fever / epidemiology
  • West Nile Fever / virology*
  • West Nile virus / drug effects
  • West Nile virus / physiology*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Ribavirin