Semin Immunol 2019 06;43:101300
Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, University Health Network, 67 College Street, Toronto, ON M5G 2M1, Canada; Department of Immunology, University of Toronto, 1 King's College Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8, Canada. Electronic address:
Outbreaks of severe virus infections with the potential to cause global pandemics are increasing. In many instances these outbreaks have been newly emerging (SARS coronavirus), re-emerging (Ebola virus, Zika virus) or zoonotic (avian influenza H5N1) virus infections. In the absence of a targeted vaccine or a pathogen-specific antiviral, broad-spectrum antivirals would function to limit virus spread. Given the direct antiviral effects of type I interferons (IFNs) in inhibiting the replication of both DNA and RNA viruses at different stages of their replicative cycles, and the effects of type I IFNs on activating immune cell populations to clear virus infections, IFNs-α/β present as ideal candidate broad-spectrum antivirals.