Zika virus, vaccines, and antiviral strategies

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2018 Jun;16(6):471-483. doi: 10.1080/14787210.2018.1483239. Epub 2018 Jun 28.


Zika virus (ZIKV) recently emerged as a global public health emergency of international concern. ZIKV is responsible for severe neurological complications in adults and infection during pregnancy and can lead to congenital Zika syndrome. There is no licensed vaccine or drug to prevent or treat ZIKV infection. Areas covered: The aim of this article is to provide an overview and update of the progress of research on anti-ZIKV vaccine and medications until the end of 2017, with a special emphasis on drugs that can be used during pregnancy. Expert commentary: Development of new vaccines and drugs is challenging and several points particular to ZIKV infections augment this difficulty: (1) Cross-reactions between ZIKV and other flaviviruses, the impact of ZIKV vaccination on subsequent flavivirus infections, and vice-versa, is unknown, (2) Drugs against ZIKV should be safe in pregnant women, and (3) Evaluation of the efficacy of vaccine and drugs against ZIKV in clinical trials phase II-IV will be complicated due to the decline of ZIKV circulation.

Keywords: Antiviral; ZIKV; arbovirus; drugs; emerging diseases; fetus; flavivirus; microcephaly; pregnancy; vaccine; zika virus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects
  • Drug Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology
  • Vaccination / methods
  • Viral Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Zika Virus Infection / complications
  • Zika Virus Infection / epidemiology
  • Zika Virus Infection / prevention & control*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Viral Vaccines