Full text here: http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/47/6/804.full.pdf The Antiviral Activities of Artemisinin and Artesunate Thomas Efferth,1 Marta R. Romero,3,5 Dana G. Wolf,4 Thomas Stamminger,2 Jose J. G. Marin,5 and Manfred Marschall2 Traditional Chinese medicine commands a unique position among all traditional medicines because of its 5000 years of history. Our own interest in natural products from traditional Chinese medicine was triggered in the 1990s, by artemisinin-type sesquiterpene lactones from Artemisia annua L. As demonstrated in recent years, this class of compounds has activity against malaria, cancer cells, and schistosomiasis. Interestingly, the bioactivity of artemisinin and its semisynthetic derivative artesunate is even broader and includes the inhibition of certain viruses, such as human cytomegalovirus and other members of the Herpesviridae family (e.g., herpes simplex virus type 1 and Epstein-Barr virus), hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and bovine viral diarrhea virus. Analysis of the complete profile of the pharmacological activities and molecular modes of action of artemisinin and artesunate and their performance in clinical trials will further elucidate the full antimicrobial potential of these versatile pharmacological tools from nature. Artemisinin is a natural product derived from the Chi- nese herb Artemisia annua (figure 1). During the Viet- nam War, Ho Chi Minh asked Mao Zedong for help, because more North Vietnamese soldiers were dying from malaria than from armed conflicts. The Chinese government launched a program to find new antima- larial drugs. As a result, Tu Youyou, a Chinese scientist from the Chinese Academy of Traditional Chinese Med- icine (Beijing, China), identified artemisinin as the ac- tive compound of A. annua in 1972 . Its overwhelm- ing antimalarial activity was demonstrated in numerous clinical studies by Chinese and Western scientists. De- spite this success, the true potential of artemisinin was underestimated in the Western world for many years . In the meantime, the World Health Organization officially recommends artemisinin and its derivatives, such as artesunate and artemether, for the treatment of malaria, particularly as a part of combination therapies with other antimalarial drugs. Artemisinin, artesunate, and additional derivatives are the most promising candidate compounds to ease the worldwide malaria burden. The high safety and tolerability profile of these drugs adds to their attrac- tiveness . This group of compounds is also active against cancer cells and schistosomiasis [4–10]. The fo- cus of the present review is the antiviral activity of artemisinin and artesunate.