Favipiravir, an influenza virus RNA polymerase inhibitor, and peramivir, an influenza virus neuraminidase inhibitor, were evaluated alone and in combination against pandemic influenza A/California/04/2009 (H1N1) virus infections in mice. Infected mice were treated twice daily for 5 d starting 4 h after virus challenge. Favipiravir was 40%, 70%, and 100% protective at 20, 40, and 100 mg/kg/d. Peramivir was 30% protective at 0.5 mg/kg/d, but ineffective at lower doses when used as monotherapy. Combinations of favipiravir and peramivir increased the numbers of survivors by 10-50% when the 0.025, 0.05, and 0.1 mg/kg/d doses of peramivir were combined with 20 mg/kg/d favipiravir and when all doses of peramivir were combined with 40 mg/kg/d favipiravir. Three-dimensional analysis of drug interactions using the MacSynergy method indicates strong synergy for these drug combinations. In addition, an increase in lifespan for groups of mice treated with drug combinations, compared to the most effective monotherapy group, was observed for the 0.025, 0.05, and 0.1 mg/kg/d doses of peramivir combined with favipiravir at the 20 mg dose level. Therefore, the 20 mg/kg/d dose of favipiravir was selected for further combination studies. Increased survival was exhibited when this dose was combined with peramivir doses of 0.1, 0.25 and 0.5 mg/kg/d (1 mg/kg/d of peramivir alone was 100% protective in this experiment). Improved body weight relative to either compound alone was evident using 0.25, 0.5, and 1 mg/kg/d of peramivir. Significant reductions in lung hemorrhage score and lung weight were evident on day 6 post-infection. In addition, virus titers were reduced significantly on day 4 post-infection by combination therapy containing favipiravir combined with peramivir at 0.25 and 0.5 mg/kg/d. These data demonstrate that combinations of favipiravir and peramivir perform better than suboptimal doses of each compound alone for the treatment of influenza virus infections in mice.
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