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Current Drug Targets - Infectious Disorders


ISSN (Print): 1568-0053
ISSN (Online): 1875-5852

Orthopoxvirus Targets for the Development of Antiviral Therapies

Author(s): Mark N. Prichard and Earl R. Kern

Volume 5 , Issue 1 , 2005

Page: [17 - 28] Pages: 12

DOI: 10.2174/1568005053174627

Price: $65


The potential use of smallpox virus as a bioterror agent and the endemic presence of monkeypox virus in Africa underscores the need for better therapies for orthopoxvirus infections. The only existing clinical experience treating vaccinia and smallpox infections has been with Marboran, which suggested that antiviral therapies could be effective in treating and preventing smallpox infections, but this compound has not been pursued. Drugs that have been approved for other indications, like cidofovir, could be approved for the treatment of orthopoxvirus infections in a timely manner, and this compound has already been approved for emergency treatment of smallpox and complications from vaccination. Its lack of activity when given orally, however, limits its use in a major outbreak involving large numbers of people exposed to the virus. The discovery and development of new therapies can be achieved more rapidly by drawing on the experience and successes with other antiviral agents, particularly with the herpesviruses. This review will discuss the orthopoxvirus replication cycle in detail noting specific viral functions and their associated gene products that have the potential to serve as new targets for drug design and development. This discussion is designed to help investigators relate these targets to parallel functions and existing assays in other virus systems that have been used successfully in drug development. The rapid progress that has been achieved in recent years should yield new drugs for the treatment of these infections and might also reveal new strategies for antiviral therapy with other viruses.

Keywords: orthopoxvirus, smallpox, antiviral, vaccinia, drugs, targets, replication

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