Arbidol (ARB) is a Russian-made small indole-derivative molecule, licensed in Russia and China for prophylaxis and treatment of influenza and other respiratory viral infections. It also demonstrates inhibitory activity against other viruses, enveloped or not, responsible for emerging or globally prevalent infectious diseases such as hepatitis B and C, gastroenteritis, hemorrhagic fevers or encephalitis. In this review, we will explore the possibility and pertinence of ARB as a broad-spectrum antiviral, after a careful examination of its physico-chemical properties, pharmacokinetics, toxicity, and molecular mechanisms of action. Recent studies suggest that ARB's dual interactions with membranes and aromatic amino acids in proteins may be central to its broad-spectrum antiviral activity. This could impact on the virus itself, and/or on cellular functions or critical steps in virus-cell interactions, thereby positioning ARB as both a direct-acting antiviral (DAA) and a host-targeting agent (HTA). In the context of recent studies in animals and humans, we will discuss the prospective clinical use of ARB in various viral infections.
Keywords: Antiviral therapy; Arbidol; Entry; Fusion; Hepatitis C virus; Influenza.
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