A randomized controlled trial of a combination of antiviral and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory treatment in a bovine model of respiratory syncytial virus infection

PLoS One. 2020 Mar 12;15(3):e0230245. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230245. eCollection 2020.


Introduction: Bovine respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a valid model for human RSV and an important bovine pathogen. Very early administration of ibuprofen and GS-561937, a fusion protein inhibitor (FPI), have separately been shown to decrease the severity of bovine RSV. Our aims were to determine how long after RSV inoculation ibuprofen and GS-561937 can be administered with clinical benefit and whether using both was better than monotherapy.

Materials and methods: We conducted a blinded randomized placebo controlled trial of ibuprofen, GS-561937 (FPI), or combinations of the two initiated at 3 or 5 days after artificial infection with bovine RSV in 36 five to six-week-old Holstein calves (Bos taurus). We measured clinical scores, respiratory rate, and viral shedding daily for 10 days following inoculation. We estimated the average effect for each drug and compared treatment arms using mixed effects models.

Results: We found a significant decrease in clinical scores only in the combined treatment arms. This benefit was greater when treatment was initiated at 3 days rather than 5 days post infection with decreased clinical scores and lower respiratory rates at both time points. Ibuprofen alone started on day 3 increased, and FPI with ibuprofen started on day 3 decreased, viral shedding.

Conclusion: Dual therapy with Ibuprofen and FPI, on average, decrease clinical severity of illness in a bovine model of RSV when started at 3 and 5 days after infection.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cattle
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / pharmacology
  • Lung / virology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Bovine / drug effects*
  • Viral Load / drug effects
  • Virus Replication / drug effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Ibuprofen