Sunday 2 June 2013

Possible antiviral strategy to intervene in severe MERS-CoV cases?

FluTrackers posted a link to an article that mentions the negative off-target effects of antibiotics being used in MERS-CoV cases (especially among patients with renal failure).

The story also mentions a MERS-CoV "treatment protocol" (without further clarification) involving antivirals similar to those used for Hepatitis C virus infections. I wonder if this March 2013 paper by Falzarano and colleagues in Nature could be the source of such a protocol? It involves use of interferon-α2b and ribavirin to inhibit HCoV-EMC (now the MERS-CoV) replication.

Independently, each drug was needed at relatively high concentrations in cell culture studies, but when combined, they seemed to synergize and could be used at lower concentrations.

It would be great to have more information on the Saudi Arabian treatment protocol but also to know if the Nature article's approach has been used successfully anywhere to date in treating severe acute respiratory infections (SARIs) testing positive for the MERS-CoV).

A lot of clinicians would like to know this information as soon as possible I suspect.

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