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Ribavirin in the treatment of SARS: A new trick for an old drug?

Koren, G., King, S., Knowles, S. and Phillips, E. (2003) Ribavirin in the treatment of SARS: A new trick for an old drug? Canadian Medical Association Journal, 168 (10). pp. 1289-1292.

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The dramatic outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has led to the use of high-dose intravenous and oral ribavirin in patients affected with this disorder. Ribavirin, a nucleoside analogue with broad antiviral activity, was discovered in 1970 by ICN Pharmaceuticals. In Canada, ribavirin is licensed for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in infants and, in combination with interferon α2b, hepatitis C. In view of the limited circumstances in which it is prescribed, most physicians are not familiar with its pharmacology, dosing and safety. In this article we summarize this information for the benefit of health care professionals who may be involved with patients receiving ribavirin for treatment or prevention of SARS. We also review emerging data on the potential efficacy of ribavirin against the SARS virus, a new mutant of coronavirus.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Canadian Medical Association
Copyright: 2003 Canadian Medical Association
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