Measles virus (MV) is a highly contagious respiratory virus responsible for outbreaks associated with significant morbidity and mortality among children and young adults. Although safe and effective measles vaccines are available, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in vaccination coverage gaps that may lead to the resurgence of measles when restrictions are lifted. This puts individuals who cannot be vaccinated, such as young infants and immunocompromised individuals, at risk. Therapeutic interventions are complicated by the long incubation time of measles, resulting in a narrow treatment window. At present, the only available WHO-advised option is treatment with intravenous immunoglobulins, although this is not approved as standard of care. Antivirals against measles may contribute to intervention strategies to limit the impact of future outbreaks. Here, we review previously described antivirals and antiviral assays, evaluate the antiviral efficacy of a number of compounds to inhibit MV dissemination in vitro, and discuss potential application in specific target populations. We conclude that broadly reactive antivirals could strengthen existing intervention strategies to limit the impact of measles outbreaks.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research was partly funded by Gilead Sciences. Gilead Sciences had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; or in the decision to publish the results. This work was partly supported by funding from ZonMw (Infectious Diseases, 10150511910052) to KSS, RDdV and RLdS and by funding from the National Institutes of Health (AI159085, NS105699 and NS091263) to M.P.
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