2-(α-Hydroxybenzyl)-benzimidazole (HBB) inhibited the cytopathic effects of the following enteroviruses: polio 1 to 3; Coxsackie A9; Coxsackie B 1 to 6; and ECHO virus types 1 to 9, 11 to 21, and 24 to 27. The following enteroviruses were not inhibited: Coxsackie A types 7, 11, 13, 16, and 18; and ECHO types 22, 23, and 28. Other HBB-insusceptible viruses were: arbor B and C, reo 1 to 3; adeno 2 to 4; influenza B; para-influenza 2 and 3; mumps; herpes simplex, and vaccinia.
HBB had no inactivating effect on viral infectivity, but rather inhibited some intracellular step in the reproductive cycle of susceptible viruses. With all viruses examined, inhibition of viral cytopathic effects appeared to be due to inhibition of virus multiplication. Virus inhibition by HBB was demonstrable in monkey kidney, HeLa, and ERK cells.
HBB-susceptible viruses varied quantitatively in their susceptibility to the compound, and different strains of the same virus also exhibited varying susceptibility. No relationship was found between attenuation of polioviruses and their susceptibility to the compound. After passage of HBB-susceptible enteroviruses in the presence of the compound, virus populations with lowered susceptibility to HBB were obtained.
At virus inhibitory concentrations, HBB did not affect the morphology of cells, nor the following cellular metabolic activities: oxygen uptake; glucose utilization; lactic acid production; and incorporation of adenosine into RNA, and of alanine into proteins. The rates of multiplication of HeLa and ERK. cells were not significantly altered by HBB at virus inhibitory concentrations.