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Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2006 Feb;4(1):43-55.

Developments towards effective treatments for Nipah and Hendra virus infection.

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  • 1Australian Animal Health Laboratory, CSIRO Livestock Industries, Geelong, Victoria 3220, Australia. katharine.bossart@csiro.au


Hendra and Nipah virus are closely related emerging viruses comprising the Henipavirus genus of the subfamily Paramyxovirinae and are distinguished by their ability to cause fatal disease in both animal and human hosts. In particular, the high mortality and person-to-person transmission associated with the most recent Nipah virus outbreaks, as well as the very recent re-emergence of Hendra virus, has confirmed the importance and necessity of developing effective therapeutic interventions. Much research conducted on the henipaviruses over the past several years has focused on virus entry, including the attachment of virus to the host cell, the identification of the virus receptor and the membrane fusion process between the viral and host cell membranes. These findings have led to the development of possible vaccine candidates, as well as potential antiviral therapeutics. The common link among all of the possible antiviral agents discussed here, which have also been developed and tested, is that they target very early stages of the infection process. The establishment and validation of suitable animal models of Henipavirus infection and pathogenesis are also discussed as they will be crucial in the assessment of the effectiveness of any treatments for Hendra and Nipah virus infection.

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