Background: To evaluate the efficacy of geldanamycin eye drops against herpes simplex virus epithelial keratitis in a rabbit model.
Methods: New Zealand white rabbits were randomized into four groups and infected with herpes simplex virus type 1; geldanamycin topical eye drops was initiated 24 h after the infection and maintained for 12 consecutive days. Four groups of rabbits received 5 µg/mL geldanamycin, 10 µg/mL geldanamycin, 0.1% acyclovir and escipient (a kind of artificial tears), respectively. The severity of herpes simplex virus type 1 epithelial keratitis was measured by slit-lamp and scored for statistics analysis. The virus shedding in eye swabs was isolated, and tissue culture infective dose (TCID50) was determined.
Results: Geldanamycin (10 µg/mL) treatment reduced significantly the severity of herpes simplex virus type 1 epithelial keratitis than the other three groups. Geldanamycin (5 µg/mL) was as effective as acyclovir (0.1%) treatment. The effect of geldanamycin against herpes simplex virus type 1 epithelial keratitis correlated with accelerated clearance of virus of the rabbits.
Conclusion: Geldanamycin is a promising treatment option against herpes simplex virus type 1 epithelial keratitis. Geldanamycin (10 µg/mL) is better than acyclovir and geldanamycin (5 µg/mL) in the rabbit model. The optimal concentration of this drug in human is still to be determined.