Animal models, prophylaxis, and therapeutics for arenavirus infections

Viruses. 2012 Sep;4(9):1802-29. doi: 10.3390/v4091802. Epub 2012 Sep 24.


Arenaviruses are enveloped, bipartite negative single-stranded RNA viruses that can cause a wide spectrum of disease in humans and experimental animals including hemorrhagic fever. The majority of these viruses are rodent-borne and the arenavirus family can be divided into two groups: the Lassa-Lymphocytic choriomeningitis serocomplex and the Tacaribe serocomplex. Arenavirus-induced disease may include characteristic symptoms ranging from fever, malaise, body aches, petechiae, dehydration, hemorrhage, organ failure, shock, and in severe cases death. Currently, there are few prophylactic and therapeutic treatments available for arenavirus-induced symptoms. Supportive care and ribavirin remain the predominant strategies for treating most of the arenavirus-induced diseases. Therefore, efficacy testing of novel therapeutic and prophylactic strategies in relevant animal models is necessary. Because of the potential for person-to-person spread, the ability to cause lethal or debilitating disease in humans, limited treatment options, and potential as a bio-weapon, the development of prophylactics and therapeutics is essential. This article reviews the current arenavirus animal models and prophylactic and therapeutic strategies under development to treat arenavirus infection.

Keywords: Animal Models; Arenavirus; Hemorrhagic Fever; Prophylaxis; Therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Arenaviridae Infections / drug therapy*
  • Arenaviridae Infections / pathology*
  • Arenavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Chemoprevention / methods
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents