Interferons (IFNs) are a first line of defense against viral infection. Herein we describe the use of an adenovirus vectored mouse IFN alpha gene (mDEF201) as a prophylactic and treatment countermeasure in a SARS-CoV-infected BALB/c mouse model. Complete survival protection was observed in mice given a single dose of mDEF201 administered intranasally 1, 3, 5, 7, or 14 days prior to lethal SARS-CoV challenge (p<0.001), and body weights of these treated mice were unaffected by the challenge. In addition, low doses of mDEF201 protected lungs in a dose dependent manner as measured by a reduction in gross pathology. Intranasal treatment with mDEF201 ranging from 10(6) to 10(8)PFU significantly protected mice against a lethal SARS-CoV infection in a dose dependent manner up to 12h post infection (p<0.001). The data suggest that mDEF201 is a new class of antiviral agent further development as treatment for SARS-CoV infections.
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