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Title: Recombinant human interferon reduces titer of the 1918 pandemic and H5N1 influenza viruses in a guinea pig model

item Van Hoeven, Neal
item Belser, Jessica
item Szretter, Kristy
item Staeheli, Peter
item Swayne, David
item Katz, Jacqueline
item Tumpey, Terrence

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/16/2008
Publication Date: 6/1/2008
Citation: Van Hoeven, N., Belser, J.A., Szretter, K.J., Staeheli, P., Swayne, D.E., Katz, J.M., Tumpey, T.M. 2008. Recombinant human interferon reduces titer of the 1918 pandemic and H5N1 influenza viruses in a guinea pig model [abstract]. In: Immunobiology and Pathogenesis of Influenza Infection, June 1-3, 2008, Atlanta, Georgia. Paper No. 55.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Although H5N1 subtype influenza viruses have yet to acquire the ability to transmit efficiently among humans, the geographic expansion, genetic diversity and persistence of H5N1 viruses in birds indicates that pandemic potential of these viruses remains high. Vaccination remains the primary means for prevention and control of influenza. However, an antigenically well-matched vaccine strain would not be available in the early stages of a pandemic. As such, the development of additional approaches to control infection, by limiting virus replication and spread among individuals, is a high priority. Here, we assess the ability of IFN treatment to limit virus replication in guinea pigs challenged with the reconstructed 1918 pandemic H1N1 virus or a clade 1 H5N1 virus. High titer virus was recovered from nasal washes for up to 5 days post-infection and from lung tissue of all inoculated animals, indicating that all viruses productively infected guinea pigs. However, other physiologic indicators normally associated with influenza infection were absent in all inoculated animals. Next, we evaluated the ability of intranasal treatment with human alpha-IFN to reduce lung and nasal wash titers of 1918 and H5N1 viruses. We found that IFN treatment initiated two days prior to challenge significantly reduced or prevented infection of guinea pigs by both 1918 and H5N1 viruses, as measured by virus titer determination and post-infection seroconversion. Collectively, these findings show that IFN treatment can reduce or eliminate influenza infection in the guinea pig model, suggesting that IFN treatment may be a useful antiviral strategy in the event of a pandemic.