Antiviral strategies against influenza virus: towards new therapeutic approaches
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- Loregian, A., Mercorelli, B., Nannetti, G. et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2014) 71: 3659. doi:10.1007/s00018-014-1615-2
Influenza viruses are major human pathogens responsible for respiratory diseases affecting millions of people worldwide and characterized by high morbidity and significant mortality. Influenza infections can be controlled by vaccination and antiviral drugs. However, vaccines need annual updating and give limited protection. Only two classes of drugs are currently approved for the treatment of influenza: M2 ion channel blockers and neuraminidase inhibitors. However, they are often associated with limited efficacy and adverse side effects. In addition, the currently available drugs suffer from rapid and extensive emergence of drug resistance. All this highlights the urgent need for developing new antiviral strategies with novel mechanisms of action and with reduced drug resistance potential. Several new classes of antiviral agents targeting viral replication mechanisms or cellular proteins/processes are under development. This review gives an overview of novel strategies targeting the virus and/or the host cell for counteracting influenza virus infection.