Effect of Vibrating Mesh Nebulizer Aerosol Technology on the In Vitro Activity of Ribavirin Against Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Brian K. Walsh, Yingguang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Ribavirin is an antiviral drug that for many years has been administered to the lungs by aerosolization. Despite advancements in oral delivery routes, there has been a renewed interested in delivering ribavirin via the pulmonary system in select patients and the severely ill. The vibrating mesh nebulizer was previously demonstrated to be an effective alternative to the small-particle aerosol generator in particle size, chemical makeup, and concentrations of the ribavirin before and after nebulization. However, the antiviral activity of ribavirin has never been examined. We sought to study ribavirin’s activity before and after nebulization via vibrating mesh nebulizer. METHODS: We grew and infected human epithelial type 2 cells and primary airway epithelial cells with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). We then compared the antiviral effect of non-nebulized (control) and aerosolized ribavirin to untreated controls. We used traditional plaque assay and real-time polymerase chain reaction to determine the quantity of virus. RESULTS: Both non-nebulized (control) and nebulized ribavirin reduced the size of RSV plaques compared to untreated controls. Additionally, the non-nebulized and nebulized ribavirin equally inhibited RSV replication. There were no statistically significant differences between the non-nebulized and nebulized ribavirin across all time points. CONCLUSIONS: The vibrating mesh nebulizer did not affect the antiviral properties of nebulized ribavirin when compared to non-nebulized drug. Our findings add supporting evidence for the use of the vibrating mesh nebulizer in the administration of inhaled ribavirin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-427
Number of pages7
JournalRespiratory care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • RSV
  • activity assay
  • airway epithelial cells
  • inhaled ribavirin
  • nebulization
  • nebulized
  • ribavirin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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