Antiviral drug discovery: broad-spectrum drugs from nature
Covering: up to April 2014
The development of drugs with broad-spectrum antiviral activities is a long pursued goal in drug discovery. It has been shown that blocking co-opted host-factors abrogates the replication of many viruses, yet the development of such host-targeting drugs has been met with scepticism mainly due to toxicity issues and poor translation to in vivo models. With the advent of new and more powerful screening assays and prediction tools, the idea of a drug that can efficiently treat a wide range of viral infections by blocking specific host functions has re-bloomed. Here we critically review the state-of-the-art in broad-spectrum antiviral drug discovery. We discuss putative targets and treatment strategies, with particular focus on natural products as promising starting points for antiviral lead development.