Cold atmospheric plasma as antiviral therapy - effect on human herpes simplex virus type 1
In previous studies, cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) was explored as an antibacterial and antiviral agent for the treatment of chronic wounds. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether CAP may also be suitable as an antiviral therapy against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). HSV-1 most frequently manifests as recurrent herpes labialis, but it can also cause encephalitis, conjunctivitis or herpes neonatorum as a perinatal infection. HSV-1 encoding the reporter gene GFP was propagated. The CAP dose for HSV-1 treatment was gradually increased, ranging from 0-150 s, and aciclovir was used as a positive control. After CAP treatment, the virus suspension was applied to a standard HSV research cell line (Vero cells) and the neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y as a model for neuronal infection. The results showed that plasma treatment had a negligible antiviral effect on HSV-1 in both Vero- and SH-SY5Y cells at high dose. However, when we lowered the viral load 100-fold, we observed a significantly decreased number of internalized HSV-1 genomes 3 h post-infection for CAP-treated viruses. This difference was less pronounced with respect to GFP expression levels 24 h post-infection, which was in sharp contrast to the acyclovir-treated positive control, for which the viral load was reduced from 95 to 25%. In summary, we observed a low but measurable antiviral effect of CAP on HSV-1.