Understanding the alphaviruses: Recent research on important emerging pathogens and progress towards their control

E. A. Gould, B. Coutard, H. Malet, B. Morin, S. Jamal, S. Weaver, A. Gorbalenya, G. Moureau, C. Baronti, I. Delogu, N. Forrester, M. Khasnatinov, T. Gritsun, X. de Lamballerie, B. Canard

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

The alphaviruses were amongst the first arboviruses to be isolated, characterized and assigned a taxonomic status. They are globally very widespread, infecting a large variety of terrestrial animals, insects and even fish, and circulate both in the sylvatic and urban/peri-urban environment, causing considerable human morbidity and mortality. Nevertheless, despite their obvious importance as pathogens, there are currently no effective antiviral drugs with which to treat humans or animals infected by any of these viruses. The EU-supported project-VIZIER (Comparative Structural Genomics of Viral Enzymes Involved in Replication, FP6 Project: 2004-511960) was instigated with an ultimate view of contributing to the development of antiviral therapies for RNA viruses, including the alphaviruses [Coutard, B., Gorbalenya, A.E., Snijder, E.J., Leontovich, A.M., Poupon, A., De Lamballerie, X., Charrel, R., Gould, E.A., Gunther, S., Norder, H., Klempa, B., Bourhy, H., Rohayemj, J., L'hermite, E., Nordlund, P., Stuart, D.I., Owens, R.J., Grimes, J.M., Tuckerm, P.A., Bolognesi, M., Mattevi, A., Coll, M., Jones, T.A., Åqvist, J., Unger, T., Hilgenfeld, R., Bricogne, G., Neyts, J., La Colla, P., Puerstinger, G., Gonzalez, J.P., Leroy, E., Cambillau, C., Romette, J.L., Canard, B., 2008. The VIZIER project: preparedness against pathogenic RNA viruses. Antiviral Res. 78, 37-46]. This review highlights some of the major features of alphaviruses that have been investigated during recent years. After describing their classification, epidemiology and evolutionary history and the expanding geographic distribution of Chikungunya virus, we review progress in understanding the structure and function of alphavirus replicative enzymes achieved under the VIZIER programme and the development of new disease control strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-124
Number of pages14
JournalAntiviral research
Volume87
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010

Keywords

  • Alphavirus
  • Antivirals
  • Biogeography
  • Classification
  • Evolution
  • Genomics
  • Replicative enzymes
  • Structure/function studies
  • VIZIER

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Virology

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    Gould, E. A., Coutard, B., Malet, H., Morin, B., Jamal, S., Weaver, S., Gorbalenya, A., Moureau, G., Baronti, C., Delogu, I., Forrester, N., Khasnatinov, M., Gritsun, T., de Lamballerie, X., & Canard, B. (2010). Understanding the alphaviruses: Recent research on important emerging pathogens and progress towards their control. Antiviral research, 87(2), 111-124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.antiviral.2009.07.007