In vitro efficacy of ganciclovir, cidofovir, penciclovir, foscarnet, idoxuridine, and acyclovir against feline herpesvirus type-1

Am J Vet Res. 2004 Apr;65(4):399-403. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.2004.65.399.


Objective: To establish the in vitro efficacy of 4 novel drugs (ie, ganciclovir, cidofovir, penciclovir, and foscarnet) against feline herpesvirus type-1 (FHV-1) and compare their antiviral efficacy with that of acyclovir and idoxuridine.

Sample population: Cultured Crandell-Reese feline kidney (CRFK) cells and FHV-1 strain 727

Procedure: For each drug, antiviral effect was estimated by use of conventional plaque-reduction assays, and inhibitory concentration 50 (IC50; drug concentration at which plaque numbers were reduced by 50% relative to the number of plaques for nontreated control wells) was calculated. To determine whether observed antiviral effects were related to alterations in the number or viability of CRFK cells, cytotoxicity assays were performed at 1, 2, and 10 times the median IC50 for each antiviral drug.

Results: Median IC50 for each drug was as follows: ganciclovir, 5.2 microM; cidofovir, 11.0 microM; penciclovir, 13.9 microM; foscarnet, 232.9 microM; idoxuridine, 4.3 microM; and acyclovir, 57.9 microM. Obvious changes in morphologic characteristics, confluence, or viability of CRFK cells were not observed at concentrations up to and including 2 times the IC50 for each drug.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: In vitro efficacy of idoxuridine and ganciclovir against FHV-1 was approximately equivalent and about twice that of cidofovir and penciclovir. Foscarnet appeared to be comparatively ineffective. Given the reasonable clinical efficacy of idoxuridine in cats infected with FHV-1, clinical trials of ganciclovir, cidofovir, and penciclovir or their prodrug forms appear to be warranted.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / analogs & derivatives*
  • Acyclovir / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cats
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cidofovir
  • Cytosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cytosine / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Foscarnet / pharmacology
  • Ganciclovir / pharmacology
  • Idoxuridine / pharmacology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Organophosphonates*
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / pharmacology
  • Varicellovirus / drug effects*
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Organophosphonates
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • penciclovir
  • Foscarnet
  • Cytosine
  • Cidofovir
  • Idoxuridine
  • Ganciclovir
  • Acyclovir