Antivirals and Targets to Fight RNA Viruses

A special issue of Pharmaceuticals (ISSN 1424-8247). This special issue belongs to the section "Biopharmaceuticals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 2236

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Department of Molecular Biology, Instituto de Parasitología y Biomedicina López-Neyra (IPBLN-CSIC), PTS Granada, Av. Conocimiento, Armilla, 18016 Granada, Spain
Interests: structural biology; aptamers; viral RNA genomes; functional RNA
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to invite authors to submit review or original manuscripts focused on the identification of new molecular targets and antiviral drugs to fight against human diseases caused by RNA viruses.

Historically, RNA viruses have co-evolved with humans, producing outbreaks and pandemics that have contributed to understanding their life cycle and molecular biology. From a general point of view, RNA virus cycles share some common stages that include virus entry, translation, replication, assembly and release. These processes have been traditionally chosen to fight viral infections using vaccines, antibodies or chemical inhibitors that interfere with the function of cellular and/or viral proteins. However, these strategies usually fail in their goal due to the emergence of resistant variants. Therefore, the identification of new molecular targets is a main goal in the field.

Recent events regarding the SARS-CoV2 pandemic have also evidenced that RNA viruses can rapidly propagate and emerge as new health threats. For that reason, the development of broad-spectrum compounds that facilitate rapid and universal administration is also a focus of the WHO.

This Special Issue aims to provide an updated overview of current antiviral strategies, their potential limitations and how they can be improved in the near future. Original manuscripts and review articles focused on the identification of new viral and cellular targets that may be useful against infections caused by different RNA viruses, thus facilitating the development of new generic antiviral strategies, are also welcome. Finally, reports on further medical and biotechnological strategies using newly identified viral targets and antiviral compounds will also be considered.

Dr. Cristina Romero-López
Dr. Alfredo Berzal-Herranz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Pharmaceuticals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • RNA virus
  • antiviral
  • drug target
  • viral translation
  • RNA structure
  • viral replication

Published Papers (1 paper)

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18 pages, 2333 KiB  
Synergistic In Vitro Antiviral Effect of Combinations of Ivermectin, Essential Oils, and 18-(Phthalimid-2-yl)ferruginol against Arboviruses and Herpesvirus
by Liliana Betancur-Galvis, Orlando José Jimenez-Jarava, Fatima Rivas, William E. Mendoza-Hernández and Miguel A. González-Cardenete
Pharmaceuticals 2023, 16(11), 1602; - 13 Nov 2023
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Combining antiviral drugs with different mechanisms of action can help prevent the development of resistance by attacking the infectious agent through multiple pathways. Additionally, by using faster and more economical screening methods, effective synergistic drug candidates can be rapidly identified, facilitating faster paths [...] Read more.
Combining antiviral drugs with different mechanisms of action can help prevent the development of resistance by attacking the infectious agent through multiple pathways. Additionally, by using faster and more economical screening methods, effective synergistic drug candidates can be rapidly identified, facilitating faster paths to clinical testing. In this work, a rapid method was standardized to identify possible synergisms from drug combinations. We analyzed the possible reduction in the antiviral effective concentration of drugs already approved by the FDA, such as ivermectin (IVM), ribavirin (RIBA), and acyclovir (ACV) against Zika virus (ZIKV), Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), and herpes virus type 2 (HHV-2). Essential oils (EOs) were also included in the study since they have been reported for more than a couple of decades to have broad-spectrum antiviral activity. We also continued studying the antiviral properties of one of our patented molecules with broad-spectrum antiviral activity, the ferruginol analog 18-(phthalimid-2-yl)ferruginol (phthFGL), which presented an IC99 of 25.6 μM for the three types of virus. In general, the combination of IVM, phthFGL, and oregano EO showed the greatest synergism potential against CHIKV, ZIKV, and HHV-2. For instance, this combination achieved reductions in the IC99 value of each component up to ~8-, ~27-, and ~12-fold for CHIKV, respectively. The ternary combination of RIBA, phthFGL, and oregano EO was slightly more efficient than the binary combination RIBA/phthFGL but much less efficient than IVM, phthFGL, and oregano EO, which indicates that IVM could contribute more to the differentiation of cell targets (for example via the inhibition of the host heterodimeric importin IMP α/β1 complex) than ribavirin. Statistical analysis showed significant differences among the combination groups tested, especially in the HHV-2 and CHIKV models, with p = 0.0098. Additionally, phthFGL showed a good pharmacokinetic profile that should encourage future optimization studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antivirals and Targets to Fight RNA Viruses)
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