The enhancing activity of 5-methyl-2-D-ribobenzimidazole on influenza B (Lee) virus yield in chorioallantoic membranes from 10-day old embryonated eggs was compared with that of eight other polyhydroxyalkyl-benzimidazoles. No marked differences in activity were noted with the following six derivatives: 5,6-dimethyl-2-D-ribo; 2-D-gluco; 5-methyl-2-D-gluco; 5,6-dimethyl-2-D-gluco; 5-methyl-2-D-galacto; and 5-methyl-2-L-rhamno. None caused morphological damage to the membranes at a concentration of 3.5 mM. The solubility of the 5-methyl-2-D-arabo and 5-methyl-2-D-manno derivatives was too low to permit quantitative comparisons, but both were active and nontoxic at a concentration of 1.75 mM.

5-Hydroxy-1-methylbenzimidazole and 5-methoxy-1-methylbenzimidazole are more active than 5-methyl-2-D-ribobenzimidazole both with respect to specific activity and maximal enhancement at the highest tolerated dose. The hydroxyl substituent is superior to the methoxyl grouping. Substitution at position 5 is superior to substitution at position 6 with respect to the tolerated dose level and therefore the maximal effect obtainable, but the 6-hydroxy-1-methyl derivative showed the highest specific activity.

5-Methoxy-1-methylbenzimidazole increases the yield to a comparable extent as measured by infectivity and hemagglutination titrations. The responses of membranes from individual chicken embryos to the enhancing action of 5-methoxy-1-methylbenzimidazole and 5-methyl-2-D-ribobenzimidazole are similar. 5-Methoxy-1-methylbenzimidazole restores the capacity of membranes from older chicken embryos to produce a large amount of virus after a small inoculum. This derivative increases the yield of virus in membranes treated before infection only. Maximal enhancement is obtained with prolonged treatment, starting before, and continuing after infection. 5-Methoxy-1-methyl-benzimidazole increases the yield of virus from COFAL-negative embryos in which the control yield is very low. Combined treatment with moderate doses of 5-methoxy-1-methylbenzimidazole and 5-methyl-2-D-ribobenzimidazole gives an additive effect.

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