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Antiviral Res. 2011 May;90(2):102-14. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2011.02.009. Epub 2011 Feb 26.

Arenaviruses and hantaviruses: from epidemiology and genomics to antivirals.

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Unité des Virus Emergents UMR190, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France.


The arenaviruses and hantaviruses are segmented genome RNA viruses that are hosted by rodents. Due to their association with rodents, they are globally widespread and can infect humans via direct or indirect routes of transmission, causing considerable human morbidity and mortality. Nevertheless, despite their obvious and emerging importance as pathogens, there are currently no effective antiviral drugs (except ribavirin which proved effective against Lassa virus) with which to treat humans infected by any of these viruses. The EU-funded VIZIER project (Comparative Structural Genomics of Viral Enzymes Involved in Replication) was instigated with an ultimate view of contributing to the development of antiviral therapies for RNA viruses, including the arenaviruses and bunyaviruses. This review highlights some of the major features of the arenaviruses and hantaviruses that have been investigated during recent years. After describing their classification and epidemiology, we review progress in understanding the genomics as well as the structure and function of replicative enzymes achieved under the VIZIER program and the development of new disease control strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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