We studied the effect of an analogue of polyinosinic acid:polycytidylic acid, the mismatched poly(rI).poly(rCU), on herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2)-induced cutaneous disease in the guinea-pig. Recurrence patterns and HSV-2-induced immune responses were also defined. Intranasal administration (1·5μg/g body weight, five doses at 48 h intervals) of poly(rI).poly(rCU) during initial HSV-2 infection caused a significant ( < 0.05) reduction in virus titres in the skin and decreased ( < 0.01) the duration and severity of the primary cutaneous lesions. The incidence and frequency of subsequent recurrent episodes were also significantly ( < 0.01) reduced. Titres of serum neutralizing antibody were identical in treated and untreated animals. Interferon (IFN) activity was detectable in the sera from poly(rI).poly(rCU)-treated animals. Peripheral blood mononuclear (PBL) and spleen cells from treated animals had enhanced cytotoxic activity for HSV-2-infected and uninfected target cells. The cytotoxic activity of the PBL was enhanced by treatment with poly(rI).poly(rCU) or IFN.


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