Nucleic Acids-Based Therapeutics in the Battle Against Pathogenic Viruses

  • Joost Haasnoot
  • Ben BerkhoutEmail author
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 189)

For almost three decades, researchers have studied the possibility to use nucleic acids as antiviral therapeutics. In theory, compounds such as antisense oligonucleotides, ribozymes, DNAzymes, and aptamers can be designed to trigger the sequence-specific inhibition of particular mRNA transcripts, including viral genomes. However, difficulties with their efficiency, off-target effects, toxicity, delivery, and stability halted the development of nucleic acid-based therapeutics that can be used in the clinic. So far, only a single antisense drug, Vitravene for the treatment of CMV-induced retinitis in AIDS patients, has made it to the clinic. Since the discovery of RNA interference (RNAi), there is a renewed interest in the development of nucleic acid-based therapeutics. Antiviral RNAi approaches are highly effective in vitro and in animal models and are currently being tested in clinical trials. Here we give an overview of antiviral nucleic acid-based therapeutics. We focus on antisense and RNAi-based compounds that have been shown to be effective in animal model systems.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus Peptide Nucleic Acid Lock Nucleic Acid Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Viral Escape 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Experimental VirologyDepartment of Medical Microbiology, Center for Infection and Immunity Amsterdam (CINIMA), Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam K3-110The Netherlands

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