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Comparative antiviral efficacies of cidofovir, trifluridine, and acyclovir in the HSV-1 rabbit keratitis model.

Author(s): Romanowski EG, Bartels SP, Gordon YJ

Affiliation(s): Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, USA.

Publication date & source: 1999-02, Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci., 40(2):378-84.

PURPOSE: To determine the relative antiviral inhibitory activity of topical 1% and 0.5% cidofovir, topical trifluridine (Viroptic; Burroughs-Wellcome, Research Triangle Park, NC), and topical acyclovir (Zovirax; The Wellcome Foundation, London, UK) during a 7-day period for the treatment of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) keratitis and HSV-1 replication in the New Zealand rabbit ocular model. METHODS: In a series of four experiments using a two-eye design, a total of 80 New Zealand rabbits were inoculated in both eyes with HSV-1 McKrae after epithelial scarification. Forty-eight hours after inoculation, the rabbits were randomly assigned to a treatment group. Five treatment groups (16 rabbits/group) were evaluated: I, 1% cidofovir, twice daily for 7 days; II, 0.5% cidofovir, twice daily for 7 days; III, 3% acyclovir ointment, five times daily for 7 days; IV, 1% trifluridine, nine times daily for 3 days, then 4 times daily for 4 days; and V, control vehicle twice daily for 7 days. HSV-1 dendritic keratitis was graded in a masked fashion by slit-lamp examination on days 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 14. Ocular viral cultures were obtained after slit-lamp examination on days 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 14. RESULTS: Compared with the control group, all four treatment groups demonstrated significantly lower viral titers, fewer HSV-1-positive eyes/total during the treatment period, lower keratitis scores, fewer eyes with keratitis/total, and a shorter time to resolution of keratitis. Within the treatment groups, the 1% and 0.5% cidofovir treatments were significantly more effective than acyclovir and trifluridine as measured by the previous viral and keratitis parameters. CONCLUSIONS: Topical 1% and 0.5% cidofovir both appeared to be significantly more efficacious than topical trifluridine and acyclovir, during a 7-day course, in the treatment of experimental HSV-1 ocular disease in the New Zealand rabbit keratitis model.

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