Broad-spectrum agents for flaviviral infections: dengue, Zika and beyond

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2017 Aug;16(8):565-586. doi: 10.1038/nrd.2017.33. Epub 2017 May 5.


Infections with flaviviruses, such as dengue, West Nile virus and the recently re-emerging Zika virus, are an increasing and probably lasting global risk. This Review summarizes and comments on the opportunities for broad-spectrum agents that are active against multiple flaviviruses. Broad-spectrum activity is particularly desirable to prepare for the next flaviviral epidemic, which could emerge from as-yet unknown or neglected viruses. Potential molecular targets for broad-spectrum antiflaviviral compounds include viral proteins, such as the viral protease or polymerase, and host targets that are exploited by these viruses during entry and replication, including α-glucosidase and proteins involved in nucleoside biosynthesis. Numerous compounds with broad-spectrum antiviral activity have already been identified by target-specific or phenotypic assays. For other compounds, broad-spectrum activity can be anticipated because of their mode of action and molecular targets.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dengue / drug therapy
  • Dengue / epidemiology
  • Drug Design*
  • Flavivirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Flavivirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Flavivirus Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Virus Internalization / drug effects
  • Virus Replication / drug effects
  • West Nile Fever / drug therapy
  • West Nile Fever / epidemiology
  • Zika Virus Infection / drug therapy
  • Zika Virus Infection / epidemiology


  • Antiviral Agents