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Efficacies Of Topical Formulations Of Foscarnet And Acyclovir And Of 5-Percent Acyclovir Ointment (Zovirax) In A Murine Model Of Cutaneous Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Infection

Jocelyne Piret, André Désormeaux, Pierrette Gourde, Julianna Juhász, Michel G. Bergeron

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ABSTRACT The topical efficacies of foscarnet and acyclovir incorporated into a polyoxypropylene-polyoxyethylene polymer were evaluated and compared to that of 5% acyclovir ointment (Zovirax) by use of a murine model of cutaneous herpes simplex virus type 1 infection. All three treatments given three times daily for 4 days and initiated 24 h after infection prevented the development of the zosteriform rash in mice. The acyclovir formulation and the acyclovir ointment reduced the virus titers below detectable levels in skin samples from the majority of mice, whereas the foscarnet formulation has less of an antiviral effect. Reducing the number of treatments to a single application given 24 h postinfection resulted in a significantly higher efficacy of the formulation of acyclovir than of the acyclovir ointment. Acyclovir incorporated within the polymer was also significantly more effective than the acyclovir ointment when treatment was initiated on day 5 postinfection. The higher efficacy of the acyclovir formulation than of the acyclovir ointment is attributed to the semiviscous character of the polymer, which allows better penetration of the drug into the skin.