Favipiravir Pharmacokinetics in Nonhuman Primates and Insights for Future Efficacy Studies of Hemorrhagic Fever Viruses.
ABSTRACT: Favipiravir is an RNA polymerase inhibitor that showed strong antiviral efficacy in vitro and in small-animal models of several viruses responsible for hemorrhagic fever (HF), including Ebola virus. The aim of this work was to characterize the complex pharmacokinetics of favipiravir in nonhuman primates (NHPs) in order to guide future efficacy studies of favipiravir in large-animal models. Four different studies were conducted in 30 uninfected cynomolgus macaques of Chinese (n = 17) or Mauritian (n = 13) origin treated with intravenous favipiravir for 7 to 14 days with maintenance doses of 60 to 180 mg/kg of body weight twice a day (BID). A pharmacokinetic model was developed to predict the plasma concentrations obtained with different dosing regimens, and the model predictions were compared to the 50% effective concentration (EC50) of favipiravir against several viruses. Favipiravir pharmacokinetics were described by a model accounting for concentration-dependent aldehyde oxidase inhibition. The enzyme-dependent elimination rate increased over time and was higher in NHPs of Mauritian origin than in those of Chinese origin. Maintenance doses of 100 and 120 mg/kg BID in Chinese and Mauritian NHPs, respectively, are predicted to achieve median trough plasma free concentrations above the EC50 for Lassa and Marburg viruses until day 7. For Ebola virus, higher doses are required. After day 7, a 20% dose increase is needed to compensate for the increase in drug clearance over time. These results will help rationalize the choice of dosing regimens in future studies evaluating the antiviral effect of favipiravir in NHPs and support its development against a variety of HF viruses.
Project description:Lassa fever is an haemorrhagic fever caused by Lassa virus (LASV). There is no vaccine approved against LASV and the only recommended antiviral treatment relies on ribavirin, despite limited evidence of efficacy. Recently, the nucleotide analogue favipiravir showed a high antiviral efficacy, with 100% survival obtained in an otherwise fully lethal non-human primate (NHP) model of Lassa fever. However the mechanism of action of the drug is not known and the absence of pharmacokinetic data limits the translation of these results to the human setting. Here we aimed to better understand the antiviral effect of favipiravir by developping the first mathematical model recapitulating Lassa viral dynamics and treatment. We analyzed the viral dynamics in 24 NHPs left untreated or treated with ribavirin or favipiravir, and we put the results in perspective with those obtained with the same drugs in the context of Ebola infection. Our model estimates favipiravir EC50 in vivo to 2.89 ?g.mL-1, which is much lower than what was found against Ebola virus. The main mechanism of action of favipiravir was to decrease virus infectivity, with an efficacy of 91% at the highest dose. Based on our knowledge acquired on the drug pharmacokinetics in humans, our model predicts that favipiravir doses larger than 1200 mg twice a day should have the capability to strongly reduce the production infectious virus and provide a milestone towards a future use in humans.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Despite repeated outbreaks, in particular the devastating 2014-2016 epidemic, there is no effective treatment validated for patients with Ebola virus disease (EVD). Among the drug candidates is the broad-spectrum polymerase inhibitor favipiravir, which showed a good tolerance profile in patients with EVD (JIKI trial) but did not demonstrate a strong antiviral efficacy. In order to gain new insights into the antiviral efficacy of favipiravir and improve preparedness and public health management of future outbreaks, we assess the efficacy achieved by ascending doses of favipiravir in Ebola-virus-infected nonhuman primates (NHPs). METHODS AND FINDINGS:A total of 26 animals (Macaca fascicularis) were challenged intramuscularly at day 0 with 1,000 focus-forming units of Ebola virus Gabon 2001 strain and followed for 21 days (study termination). This included 13 animals left untreated and 13 treated with doses of 100, 150, and 180 mg/kg (N = 3, 5, and 5, respectively) favipiravir administered intravenously twice a day for 14 days, starting 2 days before infection. All animals left untreated or treated with 100 mg/kg died within 10 days post-infection, while animals receiving 150 and 180 mg/kg had extended survival (P < 0.001 and 0.001, respectively, compared to untreated animals), leading to a survival rate of 40% (2/5) and 60% (3/5), respectively, at day 21. Favipiravir inhibited viral replication (molecular and infectious viral loads) in a drug-concentration-dependent manner (P values < 0.001), and genomic deep sequencing analyses showed an increase in virus mutagenesis over time. These results allowed us to identify that plasma trough favipiravir concentrations greater than 70-80 ?g/ml were associated with reduced viral loads, lower virus infectivity, and extended survival. These levels are higher than those found in the JIKI trial, where patients had median trough drug concentrations equal to 46 and 26 ?g/ml at day 2 and day 4 post-treatment, respectively, and suggest that the dosing regimen in the JIKI trial was suboptimal. The environment of a biosafety level 4 laboratory introduces a number of limitations, in particular the difficulty of conducting blind studies and performing detailed pharmacological assessments. Further, the extrapolation of the results to patients with EVD is limited by the fact that the model is fully lethal and that treatment initiation in patients with EVD is most often initiated several days after infection, when symptoms and high levels of viral replication are already present. CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that favipiravir may be an effective antiviral drug against Ebola virus that relies on RNA chain termination and possibly error catastrophe. These results, together with previous data collected on tolerance and pharmacokinetics in both NHPs and humans, support a potential role for high doses of favipiravir for future human interventions.
Project description:Immunosuppressed individuals can shed influenza virus for prolonged periods of time, leading to the frequent emergence of antiviral resistance. We evaluated the benefits of oseltamivir and favipiravir combination therapy compared to single antiviral agents and monitored the emergence of drug-resistant variants in a pharmacologically immunosuppressed mouse model infected with the A(H1N1) pandemic influenza virus. C57BL/6 mice were immunosuppressed with cyclophosphamide and infected with a lethal dose of pandemic influenza A(H1N1) virus. Forty-eight hours post-infection, mice were treated with oseltamivir (20 mg/kg), favipiravir (20 or 50 mg/kg) or both agents BID for 5 or 10 days. Body weight losses, survival rates, lung viral titers, cytokine levels and emergence of resistant viruses were evaluated. Treatment of immunosuppressed mice with high (50 mg/kg) but not low (20 mg/kg) doses of favipiravir in combination with oseltamivir (20 mg/kg) significantly delayed mortality and reduced lung viral titers compared to treatment with a single drug regimen with oseltamivir but did not prevent the emergence of oseltamivir-resistant H275Y neuraminidase variants. Combination therapy with oseltamivir and favipiravir should be considered for evaluation in clinical trials.
Project description:Favipiravir is approved in Japan to treat novel or re-emerging influenza viruses, and is active against a broad spectrum of RNA viruses, including Ebola. Ribavirin is the only other licensed drug with activity against multiple RNA viruses. Recent studies show that ribavirin and favipiravir act synergistically to inhibit bunyavirus infections in cultured cells and laboratory mice, likely due to their different mechanisms of action. Convalescent immune globulin is the only approved treatment for Argentine hemorrhagic fever caused by the rodent-borne Junin arenavirus. We previously reported that favipiravir is highly effective in a number of small animal models of Argentine hemorrhagic fever. We now report that addition of low dose of ribavirin synergistically potentiates the activity of favipiravir against Junin virus infection of guinea pigs and another arenavirus, Pichinde virus infection of hamsters. This suggests that the efficacy of favipiravir against hemorrhagic fever viruses can be further enhanced through the addition of low-dose ribavirin.
Project description:Targeting host functions essential for viral replication has been considered as a broad spectrum and resistance-refractory antiviral approach. However, only a few host functions have, thus far, been validated as broad-spectrum antiviral targets in vivo. ER ?-glucosidases I and II have been demonstrated to be essential for the morphogenesis of many enveloped viruses, including members from four families of viruses causing hemorrhagic fever. In vivo antiviral efficacy of various iminosugar-based ER ?-glucosidase inhibitors has been reported in animals infected with Dengue, Japanese encephalitis, Ebola, Marburg and influenza viruses. Herein, we established Huh7.5-derived cell lines with ER ?-glucosidase I or II knockout using CRISPR/Cas9 and demonstrated that the replication of Dengue, Yellow fever and Zika viruses was reduced by only 1-2 logs in the knockout cell lines. The results clearly indicate that only a partial suppression of viral replication can possibly be achieved with a complete inhibition of ER-?-glucosidases I or II by their inhibitors. We therefore explore to improve the antiviral efficacy of a lead iminosugar IHVR-19029 through combination with another broad-spectrum antiviral agent, favipiravir (T-705). Indeed, combination of IHVR-19029 and T-705 synergistically inhibited the replication of Yellow fever and Ebola viruses in cultured cells. Moreover, in a mouse model of Ebola virus infection, combination of sub-optimal doses of IHVR-19029 and T-705 significantly increased the survival rate of infected animals. We have thus proved the concept of combinational therapeutic strategy for the treatment of viral hemorrhagic fevers with broad spectrum host- and viral- targeting antiviral agents.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>In 2014-2015, we assessed favipiravir tolerance and efficacy in patients with Ebola virus (EBOV) disease (EVD) in Guinea (JIKI trial). Because the drug had never been used before for this indication and that high concentrations of the drugs were needed to achieve antiviral efficacy against EBOV, a pharmacokinetic model had been used to propose relevant dosing regimen. Here we report the favipiravir plasma concentrations that were achieved in participants in the JIKI trial and put them in perspective with the model-based targeted concentrations.<h4>Methods and findings</h4>Pre-dose drug concentrations were collected at Day-2 and Day-4 of treatment in 66 patients of the JIKI trial and compared to those predicted by the model taking into account patient's individual characteristics. At Day-2, the observed concentrations were slightly lower than the model predictions adjusted for patient's characteristics (median value of 46.1 versus 54.3 ?g/mL for observed and predicted concentrations, respectively, p = 0.012). However, the concentrations dropped at Day-4, which was not anticipated by the model (median values of 25.9 and 64.4 ?g/mL for observed and predicted concentrations, respectively, p<10-6). There was no significant relationship between favipiravir concentrations and EBOV viral kinetics or mortality.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Favipiravir plasma concentrations in the JIKI trial failed to achieve the target exposure defined before the trial. Furthermore, the drug concentration experienced an unanticipated drop between Day-2 and Day-4. The origin of this drop could be due to severe sepsis conditions and/or to intrinsic properties of favipiravir metabolism. Dose-ranging studies should be performed in healthy volunteers to assess the concentrations and the tolerance that could be achieved with high doses.<h4>Trial registration</h4>ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02329054.
Project description:Filoviruses, such as Marburg and Ebola viruses, cause severe disease in humans with high case fatality rates and are therefore considered biological threat agents. To date, no licensed vaccine or therapeutic exists for their treatment. T-705 (favipiravir) is a pyrazinecarboxamide derivative that has shown broad antiviral activity against a number of viruses and is clinically licenced in Japan to treat influenza. Here we report the efficacy of T-705 against Marburg virus infection in vitro and in vivo. Notably, oral administration of T-705 beginning one or two days post-infection and continuing for eight days resulted in complete survival of mice that had been intraperitoneally infected with mouse-adapted Marburg virus (variant Angola). Moreover, lower doses of T-705 and higher doses administered later during infection (day 3 or 4 post-infection) showed partial efficacy, with at least half the infected mice surviving. Accordingly, we observed reductions in infectious virus particles and virus RNA levels following drug treatment that appeared to correlate with survival. Our findings suggest that T-705 may be an effective therapeutic against Marburg virus and might be especially promising for use in the event of an outbreak, where it could be orally administered quickly and safely even after exposure.
Project description:The emergence of multiple concurrent infectious diseases localized in the world creates a complex burden on global public health systems. Outbreaks of Ebola, Lassa, and Marburg viruses in overlapping regions of central and West Africa and the co-circulation of Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya viruses in areas with A. aegypti mosquitos highlight the need for a rapidly deployable, safe, and versatile vaccine platform readily available to respond. The DNA vaccine platform stands out as such an application. Here, we present proof-of-concept studies from mice, guinea pigs, and nonhuman primates for two multivalent DNA vaccines delivered using in vivo electroporation (EP) targeting mosquito-borne (MMBV) and hemorrhagic fever (MHFV) viruses. Immunization with MMBV or MHFV vaccines via intradermal EP delivery generated robust cellular and humoral immune responses against all target viral antigens in all species. MMBV vaccine generated antigen-specific binding antibodies and IFNγ-secreting lymphocytes detected in NHPs up to six months post final immunization, suggesting induction of long-term immune memory. Serum from MHFV vaccinated NHPs demonstrated neutralizing activity in Ebola, Lassa, and Marburg pseudovirus assays indicating the potential to offer protection. Together, these data strongly support and demonstrate the versatility of DNA vaccines as a multivalent vaccine development platform for emerging infectious diseases.
Project description:In the past 2 decades, it has become increasingly clear that nonhuman primates, specifically macaques, are useful models for human tuberculosis (TB). Several macaque species have been used for TB studies, and questions remain about the similarities and differences in TB pathogenesis among macaque species, which can complicate decisions about the best species for a specific experiment. Here we provide a quantitative assessment, using serial positron emission tomography and computed tomography (PET-CT) imaging and precise quantitative determination of bacterial burdens of low-dose <i>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</i> infection in cynomolgus macaques of Chinese origin, rhesus macaques of Chinese origin, and Mauritian cynomolgus macaques. This comprehensive study demonstrates that there is substantial variability in the outcome of infection within and among species. Overall, rhesus macaques have higher rates of disease progression, more lung, lymph node, and extrapulmonary involvement, and higher bacterial burdens than Chinese cynomolgus macaques. The small cohort of Mauritian cynomolgus macaques assessed here indicates that this species is more similar to rhesus macaques than to Chinese cynomolgus macaques in terms of <i>M. tuberculosis</i> infection outcome. These data provide insights into the differences among species, providing valuable data to the field for assessing macaque studies of TB.
Project description:The 2014-2015 Ebola virus (EBOV) outbreak in West Africa highlighted the urgent need for specific therapeutic interventions for infected patients. The human-mouse chimeric monoclonal antibody (mAb) cocktail ZMapp, previously shown to be efficacious in EBOV (variant Kikwit) lethally infected nonhuman primates (NHPs) when administration was initiated up to 5 days, was used in some patients during the outbreak. We show that a two-antibody cocktail, MIL77E, is fully protective in NHPs when administered at 50 mg/kg 3 days after challenge with a lethal dose of EBOV variant Makona, the virus responsible for the ongoing 2014-2015 outbreak, whereas a similar formulation of ZMapp protected two of three NHPs. The chimeric MIL77E mAb cocktail is produced in engineered Chinese hamster ovary cells and is based on mAbs c13C6 and c2G4 from ZMapp. The use of only two antibodies in MIL77E opens the door to a pan-ebolavirus cocktail.