T-705-Derived Prodrugs Show High Antiviral Efficacies against a Broad Range of Influenza A Viruses with Synergistic Effects When Combined with Oseltamivir
Emerging influenza A viruses (IAV) bear the potential to cause pandemics with unpredictable consequences for global human health. In particular, the WHO has declared avian H5 and H7 subtypes as high-risk candidates, and continuous surveillance of these viruses as well as the development of novel, broadly acting antivirals, are key for pandemic preparedness. In this study, we sought to design T-705 (Favipiravir) related inhibitors that target the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and evaluate their antiviral efficacies against a broad range of IAVs. Therefore, we synthesized a library of derivatives of T-705 ribonucleoside analogues (called T-1106 pronucleotides) and tested their ability to inhibit both seasonal and highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in vitro. We further showed that diphosphate (DP) prodrugs of T-1106 are potent inhibitors of H1N1, H3N2, H5N1, and H7N9 IAV replication. Importantly, in comparison to T-705, these DP derivatives achieved 5- to 10-fold higher antiviral activity and were non-cytotoxic at the therapeutically active concentrations. Moreover, our lead DP prodrug candidate showed drug synergy with the neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir, thus opening up another avenue for combinational antiviral therapy against IAV infections. Our findings may serve as a basis for further pre-clinical development of T-1106 prodrugs as an effective countermeasure against emerging IAVs with pandemic potential.