277 5–7-day-old white Swiss mice were infected intranasally with Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV2) to mimic disseminated herpetic infection in human newborns. The antiviral efficacy of acyclovir, vidarabine and specific antiserum (SAS) alone and in combination was assessed. A significant increase in survival rate (52%) was observed with the combination of acyclovir (80 mg/kg/day) and vidarabine (125 mg/ kg/day) compared to either compound (24 and 6%, respectively) when therapy was begun 30 h after infection and continued daily for the next 4 days. Combinations of acyclovir, vidarabine and SAS had less protective effect (8%) than acyclovir with SAS (32%) or vidarabine with SAS (12%). No improvement was observed in survival rate of HSV2-infected mice treated with SAS as compared with controls (0% and 5%, respectively). These results suggest the enhanced antiherpes effect in newborn mice is due to synergism of acyclovir and vidarabine, a combination deserving further evaluation for the treatment of HSV2 infections in humans.

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