Affiliation: DRDC Suffield, Box 4000, Station Main, Medicine Hat, AB, T1A 8K6, Canada.
Respiratory RNA viruses are constantly evolving, thus requiring development of additional prophylactic and therapeutic strategies. Harnessing the innate immune system to non-specifically respond to viral infection has the advantage of being able to circumvent viral mutations that render the virus resistant to a particular therapeutic agent. Viruses are recognized by various cellular receptors, including Toll-like receptor (TLR) 3 which recognizes doublestranded (ds)RNA produced during the viral replication cycle. TLR3 agonists include synthetic dsRNA such as poly (IC), poly (ICLC) and poly (AU). These agents have been evaluated and found to be effective against a number of viral agents. One major limitation has been the toxicity associated with administration of these drugs. Significant time and effort have been spent to develop alternatives/modifications that will minimize these adverse effects. This review will focus on the TLR3 agonist, poly (IC)/(ICLC) with respect to its use in treatment/prevention of respiratory viral infections.