Lethal mutagenesis of hepatitis C virus induced by favipiravir

Ana I. De Ávila, Isabel Gallego, Maria Eugenia Soria, Josep Gregori, Josep Quer, Juan Ignacio Esteban, Charles M. Rice, Esteban Domingo, Celia Perales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 deAA vila et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Lethal mutagenesis is an antiviral approach that consists in extinguishing a virus by an excess of mutations acquired during replication in the presence of a mutagen. Here we show that favipiravir (T-705) is a potent mutagenic agent for hepatitis C virus (HCV) during its replication in human hepatoma cells. T-705 leads to an excess of G!A and C!U transitions in the mutant spectrum of preextinction HCV populations. Infectivity decreased significantly in the presence of concentrations of T-705 which are 2- to 8-fold lower than its cytotoxic concentration 50 (CC50). Passaging the virus five times in the presence of 400 μM T-705 resulted in virus extinction. Since T-705 has undergone advanced clinical trials for approval for human use, the results open a new approach based on lethal mutagenesis to treat hepatitis C virus infections. If proven effective for HCV in vivo, this new anti-HCV agent may be useful in patient groups that fail current therapeutic regimens.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0164691
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Lethal mutagenesis of hepatitis C virus induced by favipiravir'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this