Antiviral activity of micafungin against enterovirus 71

Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is a major causative agent of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) and also causes severe neurological complications, leading to fatality in young children. However, no effective therapy is currently available for the treatment of this infection.
We identified small-molecule inhibitors of EV71 from a screen of 968 Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs, with which clinical application for EV71-associated diseases would be more feasible, using EV71 subgenomic replicon system. Primary hits were extensively evaluated for their antiviral activities in EV71-infected cells.
We identified micafungin, an echinocandin antifungal drug, as a novel inhibitor of EV71. Micafungin potently inhibits the proliferation of EV71 as well as the replication of EV71 replicon in cells with a low micromolar IC50 (~5 μM). The strong antiviral effect of micafungin on EV71 replicon and the result from time-of-addition experiment demonstrated a targeting of micafungin on virion-independent intracellular process(es) during EV71 infection. Moreover, an extensive analysis excluded the involvement of 2C and 3A proteins, IRES-dependent translation, and also that of polyprotein processing in the antiviral effect of micafungin.
Our research revealed a new indication of micafungin as an effective inhibitor of EV71, which is the first case reporting antiviral activity of micafungin, an antifungal drug.

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