Japanese encephalitis (JE) caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is one of Asia's most common viral encephalitis. JEV is a flavivirus, common in rural and sub-urban regions of Asian countries. Although only 1% of JEV-infected individuals develop JE, there is a 20-30% chance of death among these individuals and possible neurological sequelae post-infection. No licensed anti-JE drugs are currently available, despite extensive efforts to develop them. Literature search was performed using databases such as PubMed Central, Google Scholar, Wiley Online Library, etc. using keywords such as Japanese encephalitis virus, antiviral drugs, antiviral drug screening, antiviral drug targets, etc. From around 230 papers/abstracts and research reviews retrieved and reviewed for this study, approximately 180 most relevant and important ones have been cited. Different approaches in drug testing and various antiviral drug targets explored so far have been thoroughly searched from the literature and compiled, besides addressing the future perspectives of the antiviral drug development strategies. Although the development of effective anti-JE drugs is an urgent issue, only supportive care is currently available. Recent advancements in understanding the biology of infection and new drug targets have been promising improvements. Despite hindrances such as the unavailability of a proper drug delivery system or a treatment regimen irrespective of the stage of infection, several promising anti-JE candidate molecules are in different phases of clinical trials. Nonetheless, efficient therapy against JEV is expected to be achieved with drug combinations and a highly targeted drug delivery system soon.
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