Pre-exposure chemoprophylaxis with 3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine (AZT) inhibits HIV-1 infection in rabbit

M. Debiaggi, R. Bruno, M. Carlevari, G. Achilli, E. Romero, G. Filice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The benefits of pre-exposure prophylaxis with 3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine (AZT) were examined in rabbit experimentally infected with HIV-1. AZT doses of 60, 30, 15, and 1 mg/kg/day, were administered by continuous subcutaneous infusion from 24 hrs before HIV-1 intraperitoneal inoculation to 14 days after. Blood samples were collected 2 weeks after HIV-1 infection and, then, every 2 weeks for 6 months. The efficacy of AZT was determined by testing sera for HIV-1 antibodies and proviral DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) detected by PCR. The AZT doses of 60, 30, and 15 mg/kg/day resulted respectively in mean plasma AZT concentrations of 2.8, 2.1 and 1.1 μg/ml. All AZT-treated rabbits produced antibodies to HIV-1 proteins from 2 weeks to 6 months after inoculation as neutralizing antibodies, viral isolation was repeatedly negative, and, moreover, proviral DNA was not detected in PBMCs of AZT-treated rabbits up to six months after inoculation. These results indicate the effectiveness of AZT as pre-exposure prophylactic agent against HIV-1 infection in rabbit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
JournalMediterranean Journal of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • AZT
  • AZT prophylaxis in rabbit
  • HIV-1 infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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