Exploring the role of antiviral drugs in the post-eradication era

This area of research is investigating the role of antiviral treatment in protecting a polio-free world after polio is eradicated.

There are three anticipated situations for the use of polio antiviral drugs:

  • for immunodeficient people who are chronically shedding poliovirus
  • for people exposed to poliovirus, for example through unintentional laboratory exposure
  • for communities exposed to circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) outbreaks in the post-eradication era (likely in conjunction with inactivated polio vaccine).

In 2006, the Poliovirus Antivirals Initiative was established. Its immediate goal was to determine if candidate antiviral drugs were safe and able to prevent, reduce or stop poliovirus shedding in adults given the oral polio vaccine.

Drug candidates under review include capsid inhibitors and protease inhibitors. Funding has been approved for a project to identify new antiviral compounds against polioviruses through industrial-scale mass screening of compounds and evaluation of candidate compounds in vitro and in mouse models.