Drugs for the Treatment of Zika Virus Infection

J Med Chem. 2020 Jan 23;63(2):470-489. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.9b00775. Epub 2019 Oct 4.


Zika virus is an emerging flavivirus that causes the neurodevelopmental congenital Zika syndrome and that has been linked to the neuroinflammatory Guillain-Barré syndrome. The absence of a vaccine or a clinically approved drug to treat the disease combined with the likelihood that another outbreak will occur in the future defines an unmet medical need. Several promising drug candidate molecules have been reported via repurposing studies, high-throughput compound library screening, and de novo design in the short span of a few years. Intense research activity in this area has occurred in response to the World Health Organization declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on February 1, 2016. In this Perspective, the authors review the emergence of Zika virus, the biology of its replication, targets for therapeutic intervention, target product profile, and current drug development initiatives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Development
  • Drug Discovery
  • Humans
  • Viral Vaccines
  • Zika Virus / drug effects*
  • Zika Virus Infection / drug therapy*
  • Zika Virus Infection / pathology
  • Zika Virus Infection / prevention & control


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Viral Vaccines