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Minimal In Vivo Efficacy of Iminosugars in a Lethal Ebola Virus Guinea Pig Model

Miller, J L; Spiro, S G; Dowall, S D; Taylor, I; Rule, A; Alonzi, D S; Sayce, A C; Wright, E; Bentley, E M; Thom, R; Hall, G; Dwek, R A; Hewson, R; Zitzmann, N


J L Miller

S G Spiro

S D Dowall

I Taylor

A Rule

D S Alonzi

A C Sayce

E Wright

E M Bentley

R Thom

G Hall

R A Dwek

R Hewson

N Zitzmann


The antiviral properties of iminosugars have been reported previously in vitro and in small animal models against Ebola virus (EBOV); however, their effects have not been tested in larger animal models such as guinea pigs. We tested the iminosugars N-butyl-deoxynojirimycin (NB-DNJ) and N-(9-methoxynonyl)-1deoxynojirimycin (MON-DNJ) for safety in uninfected animals, and for antiviral efficacy in animals infected with a lethal dose of guinea pig adapted EBOV. 1850 mg/kg/day NB-DNJ and 120 mg/kg/day MON-DNJ administered intravenously, three times daily, caused no adverse effects and were well tolerated. A pilot study treating infected animals three times within an 8 hour period was promising with 1 of 4 infected NB-DNJ treated animals surviving and the remaining three showing improved clinical signs. MON-DNJ showed no protective effects when EBOV-infected guinea pigs were treated. On histopathological examination, animals treated with NB-DNJ had reduced lesion severity in liver and spleen. However, a second study, in which NB-DNJ was administered at equally-spaced 8 hour intervals, could not confirm drug-associated benefits. Neither was any antiviral effect of iminosugars detected in an EBOV glycoprotein pseudotyped virus assay. Overall, this study provides evidence that NB-DNJ and MON-DNJ do not protect guinea pigs from a lethal EBOV-infection at the dose levels and regimens tested. However, the one surviving animal and signs of improvements in three animals of the NB-DNJ treated cohort could indicate that NB-DNJ at these levels may have a marginal beneficial effect. Future work could be focused on the development of more potent iminosugars.


Miller, J. L., Spiro, S. G., Dowall, S. D., Taylor, I., Rule, A., Alonzi, D. S., …Zitzmann, N. (2016). Minimal In Vivo Efficacy of Iminosugars in a Lethal Ebola Virus Guinea Pig Model. PLoS ONE, 11(11), e0167018.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 7, 2016
Publication Date Nov 23, 2016
Deposit Date Jun 4, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2019
Journal PLoS One
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 11
Pages e0167018
Public URL


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