We studied the therapeutic potential of favipiravir (T-705) for Lassa fever, both alone and in combination with ribavirin. Favipiravir suppressed Lassa virus replication in cell culture by 5 log10 units. In a novel lethal mouse model, it lowered the viremia level and the virus load in organs and normalized levels of cell-damage markers. Treatment with 300 mg/kg per day, commenced 4 days after infection, when the viremia level had reached 4 log10 virus particles/mL, rescued 100% of Lassa virus-infected mice. We found a synergistic interaction between favipiravir and ribavirin in vitro and an increased survival rate and extended survival time when combining suboptimal doses in vivo.
Keywords: Lassa fever; drug interaction; favipiravir; mouse model; ribavirin.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.