2018 Volume 68 Issue 1 Pages 51-62
Arenavirus is a genetic term for viruses belonging to the family Arenaviridae and is presented from lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), which shows almost no pathogenicity to humans, to Lassa virus, Junin virus, Machupo virus, Chapare virus, Lujo virus, Sabia virus, and Guanarito virus, which shows high pathogenicity to humans. These viruses except for LCMV are risk group 4 pathogens specified by World Health Organization. Based on this designation, it is designated as Class I pathogens in Japan. Although there have been no reports excluding one imported case of the Lassa fever patient, it is not surprising whenever imported cases occur in our country. Considering the disease severity and mortality rate, it is an urgent matter to develop vaccines and therapeutic drugs in endemic areas, and maintenances of these are also important in countries other than endemic areas. However, basic research on highly pathogenic arenavirus infections and development of therapeutic drugs are not easily progressed, because handling in highly safe research facilities is indispensable. In this article, we will outline the current knowledge from the recent basic research on arenavirus to the development situation of antivirals against arenaviruses.