Enisamium Reduces influenza virus shedding and improves patient recovery by inhibiting viral RNA polymerase activity

Aartjan J.W. Te Velthuis, Tatiana G. Zubkova, Megan Shaw, Andrew Mehle, David Boltz, Norbert Gmeinwieser, Holger Stammer, Jens Milde, Lutz Müller, Victor Margitich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Infections with respiratory viruses constitute a huge burden on our health and economy. Antivirals against some respiratory viruses are available, but further options are urgently needed. Enisamium iodide (laboratory code FAV00A, trade name Amizon) is an antiviral, marketed in countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States for the treatment of viral respiratory infections, but its clinical efficacy and mode of action are not well understood. In this study, we investigated the efficacy of enisamium in patients aged between 18 and 60 years with confirmed influenza virus and other viral respiratory infections. Enisamium treatment resulted in reduced influenza virus shedding (at day 3, 71.2% in the enisamium group tested negative versus 25.0% in placebo group [P<0.0001]), faster patient recovery (at day 14, 93.9% in the enisamium group had recovered versus 32.5% in placebo group [P<0.0001]), and reduced disease symptoms (from 9.6 ± 0.7 to 4.6 ± 0.9 score points in enisamium group versus 9.7 ± 1.1 to 5.6 ± 1.1 score points in placebo group [P<0.0001]) compared to those in the placebo group. Using mass spectrometry, and cell-based and cell-free viral RNA synthesis assays, we identified a hydroxylated metabolite of enisamium, VR17-04. VR17-04 is capable of inhibiting influenza virus RNA synthesis and is present in plasma of patients treated with enisamium. VR17-04 inhibits the activity of the influenza virus RNA polymerase more potently than its parent compound. Overall, these results suggest that enisamium is metabolized in humans to an inhibitor of the influenza virus RNA polymerase that reduces viral shedding and improves patient recovery in influenza patients. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under identifier NCT04682444.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere02605-20
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology


  • Adenovirus
  • Adenoviruses
  • Enisamium iodide
  • FAV00A
  • Influenza A and B
  • Influenza A and B viruses
  • RNA polymerase
  • RNA synthesis
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • Respiratory viruses
  • Treatment


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