The FDA-approved drug sofosbuvir inhibits Zika virus infection

Antiviral Res. 2017 Jan;137:134-140. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2016.11.023. Epub 2016 Nov 27.


The rapidly expanding Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic has affected thousands of individuals with severe cases causing Guillain-Barré syndrome, congenital malformations, and microcephaly. Currently, there is no available vaccine or therapy to prevent or treat ZIKV infection. We evaluated whether sofosbuvir, an FDA-approved nucleotide polymerase inhibitor for the distantly related hepatitis C virus, could have antiviral activity against ZIKV infection. Cell culture studies established that sofosbuvir efficiently inhibits replication and infection of several ZIKV strains in multiple human tumor cell lines and isolated human fetal-derived neuronal stem cells. Moreover, oral treatment with sofosbuvir protected against ZIKV-induced death in mice. These results suggest that sofosbuvir may be a candidate for further evaluation as a therapy against ZIKV infection in humans.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cell Line
  • Drug Approval
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Sofosbuvir / administration & dosage
  • Sofosbuvir / pharmacology*
  • Sofosbuvir / therapeutic use
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration
  • Zika Virus / drug effects*
  • Zika Virus Infection / drug therapy*
  • Zika Virus Infection / virology


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Sofosbuvir