Advances in developing therapies to combat zika virus: Current knowledge and future perspectives

Ashok Munjal, Rekha Khandia, Kuldeep Dhama, Swati Sachan, Kumaragurubaran Karthik, Ruchi Tiwari, Yashpal S. Malik, Deepak Kumar, Raj K. Singh, Hafiz M.N. Iqbal, Sunil K. Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Zika virus (ZIKV) remained largely quiescent for nearly six decades after its first appearance in 1947. ZIKV reappeared after 2007, resulting in a declaration of an international "public health emergency" in 2016 by the World Health Organization (WHO). Until this time, ZIKV was considered to induce only mild illness, but it has now been established as the cause of severe clinical manifestations, including fetal anomalies, neurological problems, and autoimmune disorders. Infection during pregnancy can cause congenital brain abnormalities, including microcephaly and neurological degeneration, and in other cases, Guillain-Barré syndrome, making infections with ZIKV a substantial public health concern. Genomic and molecular investigations are underway to investigate ZIKV pathology and its recent enhanced pathogenicity, as well as to design safe and potent vaccines, drugs, and therapeutics. This review describes progress in the design and development of various anti-ZIKV therapeutics, including drugs targeting virus entry into cells and the helicase protein, nucleosides, inhibitors of NS3 protein, small molecules, methyltransferase inhibitors, interferons, repurposed drugs, drugs designed with the aid of computers, neutralizing antibodies, convalescent serum, antibodies that limit antibody-dependent enhancement, and herbal medicines. Additionally, covalent inhibitors of viral protein expression and anti-Toll-like receptor molecules are discussed. To counter ZIKV-associated disease, we need to make rapid progress in developing novel therapies that work effectually to inhibit ZIKV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1469
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberAUG
StatePublished - Aug 3 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Drugs
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Microcephaly
  • Therapies
  • Zika virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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