Enveloped viruses belong to a large class of pathogens responsible for multiple
serious diseases. Their spread into new territories has been the cause of major epidemics
throughout human history, including the Spanish flu in 1918 and the latest
COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to their outer membrane, consisting essentially of host
lipids, enveloped viruses are more resistant to enzymes and are also less susceptible to
host immune defenses than their naked counterparts. Therefore, the development of effective
approaches to combat enveloped virus infections represents a major challenge for antiviral
therapy in the current century. This review focuses on the characteristics of enveloped
viruses, their importance in the entry phase, drugs targeting envelope membrane-
mediated entry, and those specifically designed to target the envelope. The broad-
-spectrum antiviral activity of these compounds can be attributed to their ability to affect
the envelope, an essential structural feature common to several viruses. This makes this
class of compounds agents of great interest when no specific drugs or vaccines are available
to block viral infections.
Keywords: Envelope, entry, broad-spectrum antiviral agents, virus, lipids, membrane, emerging viruses.
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