Antiviral lectins: Selective inhibitors of viral entry

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Many natural lectins have been reported to have antiviral activity. As some of these have been put forward as potential development candidates for preventing or treating viral infections, we have set out in this review to survey the literature on antiviral lectins. The review groups lectins by structural class and class of source organism we also detail their carbohydrate specificity and their reported antiviral activities. The review concludes with a brief discussion of several of the pertinent hurdles that heterologous proteins must clear to be useful clinical candidates and cites examples where such studies have been reported for antiviral lectins. Though the clearest path currently being followed is the use of antiviral lectins as anti-HIV microbicides via topical mucosal administration, some investigators have also found systemic efficacy against acute infections following subcutaneous administration.

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