Characteristics of human infection with avian influenza viruses and development of new antiviral agents

Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2013 Oct;34(10):1257-69. doi: 10.1038/aps.2013.121.


Since 1997, several epizootic avian influenza viruses (AIVs) have been transmitted to humans, causing diseases and even deaths. The recent emergence of severe human infections with AIV (H7N9) in China has raised concerns about efficient interpersonal viral transmission, polygenic traits in viral pathogenicity and the management of newly emerging strains. The symptoms associated with viral infection are different in various AI strains: H5N1 and newly emerged H7N9 induce severe pneumonia and related complications in patients, while some H7 and H9 subtypes cause only conjunctivitis or mild respiratory symptoms. The virulence and tissue tropism of viruses as well as the host responses contribute to the pathogenesis of human AIV infection. Several preventive and therapeutic approaches have been proposed to combat AIV infection, including antiviral drugs such as M2 inhibitors, neuraminidase inhibitors, RNA polymerase inhibitors, attachment inhibitors and signal-transduction inhibitors etc. In this article, we summarize the recent progress in researches on the epidemiology, clinical features, pathogenicity determinants, and available or potential antivirals of AIV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Birds
  • China / epidemiology
  • Drug Design
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype / isolation & purification
  • Influenza A Virus, H7N9 Subtype / isolation & purification
  • Influenza in Birds / virology*
  • Influenza, Human / drug therapy
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human / virology*


  • Antiviral Agents