Influenza viruses are responsible for respiratory illness with significant morbidity and mortality. To curb the disease, two-pronged attack on the virus, therapeutic and prophylactic, is being actively pursued. The therapeutic use of existing anti-influenza drugs, such as amantadine and rimantadine, is limited by their significant adverse side effect, emergence of resistant viral strains, and lack of activity against influenza B virus. A new class of antiviral agents designed to inhibit influenza neuraminidase are currently under active development for use in the prophylaxis and treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. Two of these compounds, zanamivir (GG167) and GS4104 have reached clinical trials. Limitations in the effectiveness and application of inactivated vaccines have stimulated development of alternative approaches to influenza immunization. One such approach is a live, intranasally administered vaccine, attenuated by cold-adaptation of a master strain with subsequent genetic reassortment with circulating wild-type strains. Recently developed reverse-genetics techniques have made it possible to use RNA viruses as vector. Besides DNA viral vectors, live influenza virus vectors may emerge as a useful alternative for the vaccination against different pathogens.
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Acknowledgements This work was supported, in part, by the Korea Research Foundation (Grant No. 1998-003-F00066), UNITEF, and a grant from the Biomedical Research Center, KAIST.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Biomedical Engineering