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Viruses 2010, 2(7), 1448-1457; doi:10.3390/v2071448
siRNA for Influenza Therapy
Received: 1 June 2010; in revised form: 5 July 2010 / Accepted: 7 July 2010 / Published: 9 July 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antivirals Against Influenza)
Abstract: Influenza virus is one of the most prevalent and ancient infections in humans. About a fifth of world's population is infected by influenza virus annually, leading to high morbidity and mortality, particularly in infants, the elderly and the immunocompromised. In the US alone, influenza outbreaks lead to roughly 30,000 deaths each year. Current vaccines and anti-influenza drugs are of limited use due to high mutation rate of the virus and side effects. In recent years, RNA interference, triggered by synthetic short interfering RNA (siRNA), has rapidly evolved as a potent antiviral regimen. Properly designed siRNAs have been shown to function as potent inhibitors of influenza virus replication. The siRNAs outperform traditional small molecule antivirals in a number of areas, such as ease of design, modest cost, and fast turnaround. Although specificity and tissue delivery remain major bottlenecks in the clinical applications of RNAi in general, intranasal application of siRNA against respiratory viruses including, but not limited to influenza virus, has experienced significant success and optimism, which is reviewed here.
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