Suryaprakash Sambhara, DVM, Ph.D
Chief, Immunology Section, Influenza Division, CDC, Atlanta, USA
Making sense of pathogen sensors of Innate Immunity: Utility of their ligands as antiviral agents and adjuvants for vaccines.
Currently used antiviral agents act by inhibiting viral entry, replication, or release of viral progeny. However, recent emergence of drug-resistant viruses has become a major public health concern as it is limiting our ability to prevent and treat viral diseases. Furthermore, very few antiviral agents with novel modes of action are currently in development. It is well established that the innate immune system is the first line of defense against invading pathogens. The recognition of diverse pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) is accomplished by several classes of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) and the ligand/receptor interactions trigger an effective innate antiviral response. In the past several years, remarkable progress has been made towards understanding both the structural and functional nature of PAMPs and PRRs. As a result of their indispensable role in virus infection, these ligands have become potential pharmacological agents against viral infections. Since their pathways of action are evolutionarily conserved, the likelihood of viruses developing resistance to PRR activation is diminished. I will discuss the recent developments investigating the potential utility of the ligands of innate immune receptors as antiviral agents and molecular adjuvants for vaccines.