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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2009 Jun;30(6):269-77. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 May 8.

Emerging antiviral targets for influenza A virus.

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Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


The potential threat of a pandemic caused by H5N1 influenza A viruses has stimulated increased research on developing new antivirals against influenza A viruses. Current antivirals are directed against the M2 protein (named adamantanes) and the neuraminidase (named zanamivir and oseltamivir). However, both seasonal and H5N1 influenza A viruses have developed resistance to adamantanes and oseltamivir. Accordingly, new antivirals directed at the M2 and neuraminidase proteins, and against the hemagglutinin protein, are being developed. In addition, elucidation of the structural basis for several crucial functions of other viral proteins (specifically the non-structural NS1A protein, the nucleoprotein and the viral polymerase) has identified novel targets for the development of new antivirals. Here, we describe how functional and structural studies led to the discovery of these novel targets and also how structural information is facilitating the rational design of new drugs against previously identified targets.

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