Journal of medical virology vol:42 issue:4 pages:338-47
Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is recognized as one of the major viral pathogens reactivated in patients with the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). We report the case of meningoradiculoneuritis in an AIDS patient,associated with the isolation in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of a thymidine kinase (TK)-deficient, acyclovir (ACV)-resistant strain of VZV. Although the virus was sensitive in vitro to phosphonoformate (PFA), the patient did not improve during PFA therapy and finally died. Several VZV strains isolated from this patient (including two isolates from the patient's CSF) were analyzed for their TK activity and subsequently the viral TK gene was sequenced showing a major deletion leading to a truncated protein. Their susceptibility to several antiviral agents including ACV, PFA, (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine (BVDU), 9-beta-D-arabinofuranosyladenine (vidarabine), (S)-1-(3-hydroxy-2-phosphonylmethoxypropyl) cytosine (HPMPC), and (S)-9-(3-hydroxy-2-phosphonyl-methoxypropyl)adenine (HPMPA) was evaluated. All the virus strains isolated from this patient remained sensitive to HPMPA and HPMPC, pointing to the potential usefulness of these acyclic nucleoside phosphonates for the treatment of ACV-resistant VZV infections in immunocompromised patients.