Evaluation of Lassa antiviral compound ST-193 in a guinea pig model

Antiviral Res. 2011 Apr;90(1):70-9. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2011.02.012. Epub 2011 Mar 1.


Lassa virus (LASV), a member of the Arenaviridae family, causes a viral hemorrhagic fever endemic to West Africa, where as many as 300,000 infections occur per year. Presently, there are no FDA-approved LASV-specific vaccines or antiviral agents, although the antiviral drug ribavirin has shown some efficacy. A recently identified small-molecule inhibitor of arenavirus entry, ST-193, exhibits submicromolar antiviral activity in vitro. To determine the antiviral utility of ST-193 in vivo, we tested the efficacy of this compound in the LASV guinea pig model. Four groups of strain 13 guinea pigs were administered 25 or 80 mg/kg ST-193, 25 mg/kg of ribavirin, or the vehicle by the intraperitoneal (i.p.) route before infection with a lethal dose of LASV, strain Josiah, and continuing once daily for 14 days. Control animals exhibited severe disease, becoming moribund between days 10 and 15 postinfection. ST-193-treated animals exhibited fewer signs of disease and enhanced survival when compared to the ribavirin or vehicle groups. Body temperatures in all groups were elevated by day 9, but returned to normal by day 19 postinfection in the majority of ST-193-treated animals. ST-193 treatment mediated a 2-3-log reduction in viremia relative to vehicle-treated controls. The overall survival rate for the ST-193-treated guinea pigs was 62.5% (10/16) compared with 0% in the ribavirin (0/8) and vehicle (0/7) groups. These data suggest that ST-193 may serve as an improved candidate for the treatment of Lassa fever.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Body Temperature
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Lassa Fever / drug therapy*
  • Lassa Fever / mortality
  • Lassa Fever / pathology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Viremia / prevention & control


  • Antiviral Agents