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Drugs Fut 2017, 42(5): 285
ISSN 0377-8282
Copyright 2017 Clarivate Analytics
CCC: 0377-8282
DOI: 10.1358/dof.2017.042.05.2638227
Therapeutic targets for Zika virus infection
Sorbera, L., Stringer, M.
Zika virus infection is a mosquito-borne viral disease caused by the Zika virus (ZIKV), a member of the Flaviviridae family that is related to other vector-borne flaviviruses such as dengue, West Nile, Spondweni and Japanese encephalitis viruses. Common symptoms of ZIKV infection include mild fever, maculopapular rash, headache, arthralgia, myalgia, asthenia and nonpurulent conjunctivitis. Approximately 20% of infected individuals develop symptoms, which typically appear between 2 and 7 days subsequent to the mosquito vector bite. Affected individuals usually undergo a mild form of the disease, with symptoms typically lasting from several days to a week. Episodes of severe disease that require hospitalization and may result in death are unusual. At present, only symptomatic treatment options are available, primarily comprising analgesics such as paracetamol, together with rest and the sufficient fluid intake. Convalescing viremic patients ought to be protected from mosquito bites so that they do not transmit the virus back to the vector and disseminate the outbreak further. There is an urgent need for broad-spectrum antiviral agents that are capable of treating infections caused by emerging arboviruses. However, the use of antiviral therapeutic entities may not be an adequate practical approach in the case of Zika as it is predominantly a self-limiting infection with a short duration. Furthermore, individuals considered to be most vulnerable to Zika infection are pregnant women, a population that may not be particularly amenable to treatment with experimental drugs. As the search continues for adequate therapeutic options, the identification of novel targets is an important step in this process.

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