Polymers, due to their high molecular weight, tunable architecture, functionality, and buffering effect for endosomal escape, possess unique properties as a carrier or prophylactic agent in preventing pandemic outbreak of new viruses. Polymers are used as a carrier to reduce the minimum required dose, bioavailability, and therapeutic effectiveness of antiviral agents. Polymers are also used as multifunctional nanomaterials to, directly or indirectly, inhibit viral infections. Multifunctional polymers can interact directly with envelope glycoproteins on the viral surface to block fusion and entry of the virus in the host cell. Polymers can indirectly mobilize the immune system by activating macrophages and natural killer cells against the invading virus. This review covers natural and synthetic polymers that possess antiviral activity, their mechanism of action, and the effect of material properties like chemical composition, molecular weight, functional groups, and charge density on antiviral activity. Natural polymers like carrageenan, chitosan, fucoidan, and phosphorothioate oligonucleotides, and synthetic polymers like dendrimers and sialylated polymers are reviewed. This review discusses the steps in the viral replication cycle from binding to cell surface receptors to viral-cell fusion, replication, assembly, and release of the virus from the host cell that antiviral polymers interfere with to block viral infections.
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Published in Polymers, Volume 14, Issue 9, 2022, pages 1634-.
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Akbari, A., Bigham, A., Rahimkhoei, V., Sharifi, S., & Jabbari, E. (2022). Antiviral Polymers: A Review. Polymers, 14(9), 1634. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14091634