Drug Repurposing Approaches for the Treatment of Influenza Viral Infection: Reviving Old Drugs to Fight Against a Long-Lived Enemy

Front Immunol. 2019 Mar 19:10:531. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.00531. eCollection 2019.


Influenza viruses still constitute a real public health problem today. To cope with the emergence of new circulating strains, but also the emergence of resistant strains to classic antivirals, it is necessary to develop new antiviral approaches. This review summarizes the state-of-the-art of current antiviral options against influenza infection, with a particular focus on the recent advances of anti-influenza drug repurposing strategies and their potential therapeutic, regulatory and economic benefits. The review will illustrate the multiple ways to reposition molecules for the treatment of influenza, from adventitious discovery to in silico-based screening. These novel antiviral molecules, many of which targeting the host cell, in combination with conventional antiviral agents targeting the virus, will ideally enter the clinics and reinforce the therapeutic arsenal to combat influenza virus infections.

Keywords: antiviral resistance; antivirals; drug combination; drug discovery; drug repositioning; drug repurposing; influenza virus; transcriptional profiling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Repositioning / methods
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human / drug therapy*
  • Orthomyxoviridae / drug effects*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / drug therapy*


  • Antiviral Agents