The antiviral effects of three substituted benzimidazoles, 4,5,6,trichloro-1-β--ribofuranosyl benzimidazole, 2-mercapto-1-(β-4-pyridethyl) benzimidazole and 2-(α-hydroxybenzyl) benzimidazone, have been investigated and compared with their effects on the RNA metabolism of the host cells.

4,5,6,trichloro-1-β--ribofuranosyl benzimidazole and 2-mercapto-1-(β-4-pyridethyl) benzimidazole inhibit the growth of influenza A and parainfluenza 1 in calf kidney cells, and vaccinia in L cells, but they also reduce the synthesis of cellular RNA proportionately. They inhibit the growth of EMC in L cells, but only at concentrations at which host cell RNA synthesis is very much reduced. Their action is therefore not specific to a virus induced process.

In contrast, 2-(α-hydroxybenzyl) benzimidazole suppresses the growth of encephalomyocarditis virus in L cells at concentrations which have little effect on host cell RNA synthesis.


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