Measles Resurgence and Drug Development

Curr Opin Virol. 2020 Apr 1;41:8-17. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2020.02.007. Online ahead of print.


Measles caused an estimated minimum of one million fatalities annually before vaccination. Outstanding progress towards controlling the virus has been made since the measles vaccine was introduced, but reduction of measles case-fatalities has stalled at around 100,000 annually for the last decade and a 2019 resurgence in several geographical regions threatens some of these past accomplishments. Whereas measles eradication through vaccination is feasible, a potentially open-ended endgame of elimination may loom. Other than doubling-down on existing approaches, is it worthwhile to augment vaccination efforts with antiviral therapeutics to solve the conundrum? This question is hypothetical at present, since no drugs have yet been approved specifically for the treatment of measles, or infection by any other pathogen of the paramyxovirus family. This article will consider obstacles that have hampered anti-measles and anti-paramyxovirus drug development, discuss MeV-specific challenges of clinical testing, and define drug properties suitable to address some of these problems.

Publication types

  • Review