Tecovirimat, a p37 envelope protein inhibitor for the treatment of smallpox infection.

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Minderbroedersstraat 10, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.
IDrugs: the investigational drugs journal (Impact Factor: 2.33). 03/2010; 13(3):181-91.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Since the eradication of naturally occurring smallpox in 1980, the fear that variola virus could be used as a biological weapon has become real. Over the last 10 years, emergency preparedness programs have been launched to protect populations against a smallpox outbreak or the possible emergence in humans of other orthopoxvirus infections, such as monkeypox. Vaccination against smallpox was responsible for its eradication, but was linked with high rates of adverse events and contraindications. In this context, intensive research in the poxvirus field has led to the development of safer vaccines and to an increase in the number of anti-poxvirus agents in the pipeline. SIGA Technologies Inc, under license from ViroPharma Inc, is developing tecovirimat (ST-246). Tecovirimat is a novel antiviral that inhibits the egress of orthopoxviruses by targeting viral p37 protein orthologs. The development of tecovirimat during the last 5 years for the treatment of smallpox and for its potential use as adjunct to smallpox vaccine is reviewed here.

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