Therapeutic and prevention strategies against human enterovirus 71 infection

World J Virol. 2015 May 12;4(2):78-95. doi: 10.5501/wjv.v4.i2.78.


Human enterovirus 71 (HEV71) is the cause of hand, foot and mouth disease and associated neurological complications in children under five years of age. There has been an increase in HEV71 epidemic activity throughout the Asia-Pacific region in the past decade, and it is predicted to replace poliovirus as the extant neurotropic enterovirus of highest global public health significance. To date there is no effective antiviral treatment and no vaccine is available to prevent HEV71 infection. The increase in prevalence, virulence and geographic spread of HEV71 infection over the past decade provides increasing incentive for the development of new therapeutic and prevention strategies against this emerging viral infection. The current review focuses on the potential, advantages and disadvantages of these strategies. Since the explosion of outbreaks leading to large epidemics in China, research in natural therapeutic products has identified several groups of compounds with anti-HEV71 activities. Concurrently, the search for effective synthetic antivirals has produced promising results. Other therapeutic strategies including immunotherapy and the use of oligonucleotides have also been explored. A sound prevention strategy is crucial in order to control the spread of HEV71. To this end the ultimate goal is the rapid development, regulatory approval and widespread implementation of a safe and effective vaccine. The various forms of HEV71 vaccine designs are highlighted in this review. Given the rapid progress of research in this area, eradication of the virus is likely to be achieved.

Keywords: Drugs; Human enterovirus 71; Infection; Prevention; Therapy; Vaccine.

Publication types

  • Review