Virus Genes. 2016 Feb ;52(1):22-8. Epub 2016 Jan 6. PMID: 26739460
Artesunate, an anti-malarial drug, has a potential to inhibit HCV replication.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major global health issue. Although the search for HCV treatments has resulted in great achievements, the current treatment methods have limitations, and new methods and drugs for hepatitis C treatment are still required. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of artesunate (ART) on HCV replication and compared these effects with those of ribavirin (RBV) and interferon-2b (IFN). The study was performed in HCV-infection cell models (JFH1-infected Huh7.5.1 and OR6 cell lines). Our results showed that the antimalarial drug ART inhibited HCV replicon replication in a dose- and time-dependent manner at a concentration that had no effect on the proliferation of exponentially growing host cells, and the inhibitory effect on HCV replication was stronger than RBV but weaker than IFN, as determined by qPCR, luciferase assays, and Western blot analysis. Furthermore, the combination of ART and IFN resulted in a greater inhibition of HCV replication. These findings demonstrated that ART had an inhibitive effect on HCV replication and may be a novel supplemental co-therapy with IFN and RBV for HCV and as an alternative strategy to combat resistance mechanisms that have emerged in the presence of DAA agents.