Scientists have reported that a combination of two licensed antiviral drugs reduces virus replication and improves clinical outcome of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in mokeys.
The study, conducted by National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists, expands on work published in April showing that a combination of ribavirin and interferon-alpha 2b stops MERS-CoV from replicating in cell culture.
Both antivirals are routinely used together to treat viral diseases such as hepatitis C.
In the latest study, investigators at NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) infected six rhesus macaques with MERS-CoV and, eight hours later, treated half of them with the two-drug regimen.
Compared to the untreated animals, the treatment group showed no breathing difficulties and only minimal X-ray evidence of pneumonia. The treated animals also had lower amounts of virus and less severe tissue damage in the lungs.
The study has been published in Nature Medicine. (ANI)