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Arbidol: a broad-spectrum antiviral that inhibits acute and chronic HCV infection

Yury S Boriskin13, Eve-Isabelle Pécheur2 and Stephen J Polyak1*

Author affiliations

1 Departments of Laboratory Medicine, Microbiology and Pathobiology, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

2 IFR128 Biosciences Lyon Gerland: Institut de Biologie et Chimie des Protéines, UMR 5086 CNRS-Université Claude Bernard Lyon I, Lyon, France

3 Institute of Virology, Moscow, Russia

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Citation and License

Virology Journal 2006, 3:56  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-3-56

Published: 19 July 2006


Arbidol (ARB) is an antiviral compound that was originally proven effective for treatment of influenza and several other respiratory viral infections. The broad spectrum of ARB anti-viral activity led us to evaluate its effect on hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and replication in cell culture. Long-term ARB treatment of Huh7 cells chronically replicating a genomic length genotype 1b replicon resulted in sustained reduction of viral RNA and protein expression, and eventually cured HCV infected cells. Pre-treatment of human hepatoma Huh7.5.1 cells with 15 μM ARB for 24 to 48 hours inhibited acute infection with JFH-1 virus by up to 1000-fold. The inhibitory effect of ARB on HCV was not due to generalized cytotoxicity, nor to augmentation of IFN antiviral signaling pathways, but involved impaired virus-mediated membrane fusion. ARB's affinity for membranes may inhibit several aspects of the HCV lifecycle that are membrane-dependent.