Molecular mechanisms of action of ribavirin

Jean L. Patterson, Roberto Fernandez-Larsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

226 Scopus citations


Ribavirin (l-β-d-ribofuranosyl-l,2,4-triazole-3-carboxamide) is a broad-spectrum antiviral agent whose molecular mode of action remains remarkably controversial. This antiviral agent was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1986 for use as an aerosol for infants with serious infections due to respiratory syncytial virus. Ribavirin is and has been under clinical investigation for activity against a variety of viral illnesses, including those due to influenza virus, Lassa fever virus, Hantaan virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). There has been a great deal of clinical interest in the utilization of ribavirin for treatment of infections due to HIV. It has been reported to slow the development of AIDS in HIV-infected patients. We describe here the major mechanisms of action of this newly licensed antiviral agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1139-1146
Number of pages8
JournalReviews of Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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