Molecular Biology

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 484–500 | Cite as

Prospects For the Use of Peptides against Respiratory Syncytial Virus

  • I. P. ShilovskiyEmail author
  • S. M. Andreev
  • K. V. Kozhikhova
  • A. A. Nikolskii
  • M. R. Khaitov


The human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of the most common viral pathogens that affects the lower respiratory tract and could be a reason of bronchiolitis and/or pneumonia. Currently, there are no available effective ways of treating the RSV infection. Attempts to develop preventive vaccine have been unsuccessful. The only therapeutic agent used for RSV treatment is virazole (ribavirin); however, it induces adverse effects. Medications based on neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, such as IGIV (Respigam), palivizumab (Synagis), and MEDI-524 (Numab), are under clinical trials; however, their use will be limited by their high cost. One of the promising approaches for antiviral therapy is the use of natural peptides (defensins and cathelicidins), or their synthetic analogs. The majority of currently described antiviral peptides are developed against the human immunodeficiency virus, the herpes simplex virus, and the influenza virus. At the same time, a body of experimental data evidencing anti-RSV activity of peptides has been accumulated. The main advantages of peptide drugs are their wide spectrum of antiviral activity and low toxicity. However, there are obstacles in implementing peptide-based drugs in clinical practice. Due to their low resistance to the action of serum proteases, most authors consider peptides promising only for local application. Given that RSV affects the epithelium of the respiratory tract, where the protease activity is lower than in the systemic circulation, it is possible to develop locally active peptide drugs, for example, as inhalation forms. Their stability could also be increased by the synthesis of dendrimer peptides and by the development of recombinant peptides as precursor proteins. Anti-RSV peptides can be divided into several groups: (1) attachment and/or fusion blockers; (2) peptides displaying direct virucidal activity, disrupting the viral envelope. Such peptides, which suppress early stages of the viral life cycle, are considered prophylactic agents. However, for several peptides, their immunoregulatory properties have been described, which opens the possibility for therapeutic use. This review summarizes the information on the antiviral properties of such peptides and mechanisms of their action and describes the prospects of the future development of antiviral peptides.


respiratory syncytial virus synthetic peptides antimicrobial peptides antiviral peptides 



The work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (project no. 18-74-10002).


Conflict of interest. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of the welfare of animals. This article does not contain any studies involving animals or human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. P. Shilovskiy
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. M. Andreev
    • 1
  • K. V. Kozhikhova
    • 1
  • A. A. Nikolskii
    • 1
  • M. R. Khaitov
    • 1
  1. 1.National Research Center—Institute of Immunology, Federal Medical-Biological AgencyMoscowRussia

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