Clinical microbiology reviews vol:13 issue:1 pages:67-82, table of contents
The family Flaviviridae contains three genera: Hepacivirus, Flavivirus, and Pestivirus. Worldwide, more than 170 million people are chronically infected with Hepatitis C virus and are at risk of developing cirrhosis and/or liver cancer. In addition, infections with arthropod-borne flaviviruses (such as dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, tick-borne encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, Murray Valley encephalitis, West Nile, and yellow fever viruses) are emerging throughout the world. The pestiviruses have a serious impact on livestock. Unfortunately, no specific antiviral therapy is available for the treatment or the prevention of infections with members of the Flaviviridae. Ongoing research has identified possible targets for inhibition, including binding of the virus to the cell, uptake of the virus into the cell, the internal ribosome entry site of hepaciviruses and pestiviruses, the capping mechanism of flaviviruses, the viral proteases, the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and the viral helicase. In light of recent developments, the prevalence of infections caused by these viruses, the disease spectrum, and the impact of infections, different strategies that could be pursued to specifically inhibit viral targets and animal models that are available to study the pathogenesis and antiviral strategies are reviewed.