The Antifungal Drug Isavuconazole Inhibits the Replication of Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and Acts Synergistically with Anti-HCMV Drugs

Antiviral Res. 2021 Mar 12:105062. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2021.105062. Online ahead of print.


We recently reported that some clinically approved antifungal drugs are potent inhibitors of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). Here, we report the broad-spectrum activity against HCMV of isavuconazole (ICZ), a new extended-spectrum triazolic antifungal drug. ICZ inhibited the replication of clinical isolates of HCMV as well as strains resistant to the currently available DNA polymerase inhibitors. The antiviral activity of ICZ against HCMV could be linked to the inhibition of human cytochrome P450 51 (hCYP51), an enzyme whose activity we previously demonstrated to be required for productive HCMV infection. Moreover, time-of-addition studies indicated that ICZ might have additional inhibitory effects during the first phase of HCMV replication. Importantly, ICZ showed synergistic antiviral activity in vitro when administered in combination with different approved anti-HCMV drugs at clinically relevant doses. Together, these results pave the way to possible future clinical studies aimed at evaluating the repurposing potential of ICZ in the treatment of HCMV-associated diseases.

PMID:33722615 | DOI:10.1016/j.antiviral.2021.105062