The anti-malaria drug artesunate has been shown to be an effective inhibitor of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in vitro, in an experimental animal model, and in a recent single-case clinical use. In this first case-series of 6 stem cell transplant recipients who received preemptive artesunate treatment for CMV infection, we have examined the viral kinetics following institution of artesunate, and employed first-phase viral kinetics studies to calculate its antiviral effectiveness. Two patients demonstrated a rapid 0.8-2.1 log viral load decline by 7. days, with a viral decay half-live of 0.9-1.9. days. Four patients demonstrated a continued yet stalled viral growth slope during treatment. No adverse events were noted in treatment courses of up to 28. days. Overall, a divergent antiviral efficacy was revealed, ranging from 43% to 90%, which appeared to be primarily dependent on the virus baseline growth dynamics. Further dose escalation studies are needed to examine the role of artesunate in the treatment of CMV infection in the transplantation setting.
- Antiviral drugs
- Viral kinetics