A Systems Approach to Study Immuno- and Neuro-Modulatory Properties of Antiviral Agents

Viruses. 2018 Aug 12;10(8):423. doi: 10.3390/v10080423.


There are dozens of approved, investigational and experimental antiviral agents. Many of these agents cause serious side effects, which can only be revealed after drug administration. Identification of the side effects prior to drug administration is challenging. Here we describe an ex vivo approach for studying immuno- and neuro-modulatory properties of antiviral agents, which may be associated with potential side effects of these therapeutics. The current approach combines drug toxicity/efficacy tests and transcriptomics, which is followed by mRNA, cytokine and metabolite profiling. We demonstrated the utility of this approach with several examples of antiviral agents. We also showed that the approach can utilize different immune stimuli and cell types. It can also include other omics techniques, such as genomics and epigenomics, to allow identification of individual markers associated with adverse reactions to antivirals with immuno- and neuro-modulatory properties.

Keywords: antiviral agent; drug side effect; drug target; innate immunity; precision medicine; systems biology; virus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Epigenomics
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects*
  • Metabolomics
  • Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Precision Medicine
  • Systems Biology / methods*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Cytokines