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Crit Rev Microbiol. 2017 Sep;43(5):521-545. doi: 10.1080/1040841X.2016.1242868. Epub 2016 Dec 8.

Iminosugars: Promising therapeutics for influenza infection.

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a Department of Biochemistry , University of Oxford Medical Sciences Division , Oxford , United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
b Antiviral Research and Development, Emergent BioSolutions Inc , Gaithersburg , MD , United States.


Influenza virus causes three to five million severe respiratory infections per year in seasonal epidemics, and sporadic pandemics, three of which occurred in the twentieth century and are a continuing global threat. Currently licensed antivirals exclusively target the viral neuraminidase or M2 ion channel, and emerging drug resistance necessitates the development of novel therapeutics. It is believed that a host-targeted strategy may combat the development of antiviral drug resistance. To this end, a class of molecules known as iminosugars, hydroxylated carbohydrate mimics with the endocyclic oxygen atom replaced by a nitrogen atom, are being investigated for their broad-spectrum antiviral potential. The influenza virus glycoproteins, hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, are susceptible to inhibition of endoplasmic reticulum α-glucosidases by certain iminosugars, leading to reduced virion production or infectivity, demonstrated by in vitro and in vivo studies. In some experiments, viral strain-specific effects are observed. Iminosugars may also inhibit other host and virus targets with antiviral consequences. While investigations of anti-influenza iminosugar activities have been conducted since the 1980s, recent successes of nojirimycin derivatives have re-invigorated investigation of the therapeutic potential of iminosugars as orally available, low cytotoxicity, effective anti-influenza drugs.


Influenza; N-glycosylation; hemagglutinin; iminosugars; neuraminidase

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