Journal of Ethnapharmacofogy, 32 (1991) 141-153
Elsevier Scientific Publishers Ireland Ltd.141
Can eth~opha~acology contribute toantiviral drugs?the development of
Arnold J. Vlietinck and Dirk A. Vanden Berghe
Faculty of Medicine, University
(UIA), B-2610 Antwerp (Belgium)
In recent years, many compounds having potent antiviral activity in cell cultures and in experimental animals have been detected,but only a few have been approved by Western health authorities for clinical use. Nevertheless, some of these compounds are currentlyundergoing either preclinicat or clinical evaluation, and perspectives for finding new interesting antiviral drugs are promising. Amongthese antiviral substances are several natural compounds isolated from plants used in traditional medicine including polysaccharides,Bavonoids, terpenes, alkaloids, phenolics and amino acids. Some of these plant compounds exhibit a unique antiviral mechanism ofaction and are good candidates for further clinical research. What follows is a brief summary of the selection methods of plants forantiviral screening and in vitro and in vivo assays, which are currently used for detecting this activity in plant extracts. The importanceof the plant kingdom as a source of new antiviral substances will be illustrated by presenting a survey on plant-derived antirhinovirusand anti-HIV agents.
The identification of a retrovirus, human im-munode~cien~y virus (HIV) as the causative agentof AIDS (acquired immunedeficiency syndrome),the steadily increasing incidence of various viralinfections caused by viruses such as herpes simplexvirus (HSV),varicella-zoster virus (VZV),cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr virus(EBV), in immunode~cient patients, the increasingevidence for the pathogenic role of a number ofviruses viz. human papilloma virus (HPV) in thepathogenesis of primary hepatocellular carcinomaand the socioeconomic impact of virus infectionsof the respiratory tract (influenza, adeno, coronaand rhinoviruses) and gastrointestinal tract(rotaviruses) have all been important factors inboosting the search for new antiviral agents andnew modalities of antiviral chemotherapy.Although many compounds having potent an-tiviral activity in cell cultures and in experimental
Presented at the First International Congress on Ethnophar-macology, Strasbourg, 5-9 June, 1990.
Arnold J. Vlietinck, Faculty of Medicine,University of Antwerp (UIA), B-2610 Antwerp, Belgium.
animals have been detected, at present, only sevensynthetic compounds and alpha interferon havebeen approved by the FDA for therapy of viral in-fections in humans. Four of these compounds arefor the therapy of infections caused by members ofthe herpes family including 5-iodo-2 ‘deoxyuridine(idoxuridine), 5-trifluoromethyl-2’-deoxyuridine(trifluridine), 9-fi-D-arabinofuranosyladenine (vid-arabine) and 9-(2-hydroxyethoxymethyl)guanine(acyclovir).A fifth compound, I-aminoadamantane (aman-tadine), is approved for the therapy and pro-phylaxis of respiratory infections caused by the in-fluenza virus A. A sixth antiviral agent,l-~-~r~bofuranosyl-l,2,4-triazole-3-carboxamide(ribavirin) is approved for therapy of severe respi-ratory infections in children caused by the respira-tory syncytial virus. The seventh antiviral agent,3 ‘-azido-3 ‘-deoxythymidine (zidovudine, AZT),has been approved for therapy of AIDS. Alpha in-terferon has been approved for treatment ofgenital warts caused by papilloma virus and for thetherapy of hairy cell leukemia and Kaposi sarcoma(Prusoff et al., 1989). The chemical structures ofthe FDA-approved drugs are given in Fig. 1.
0378-8741~03.50 0 1991 Elsevier Scientific Publishers Ireland Ltd.Published and Printed in Ireland