Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

COVID-19: What happens if some countries don't vaccinate?

Some countries, such as Tanzania and Madagascar, have issued statements saying they do not have plans to vaccinate their populations against COVID-19. Moina Spooner, an editor with The Conversation Africa, asked pathology ...

HIV & AIDS

HIV research yields potential drug target

Humans possess a formidable multi-layered defense system that protects us against viral infections. Better understanding of these defenses and the tricks that viruses use to evade them could open novel avenues for treating ...

Obstetrics & gynaecology

Study: New vaginal film, MB66, is safe

While a number of topical products designed to reduce the occurrence of sexually transmitted infections have been tested with largely disappointing results, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), Alpert ...

Medical research

Findings may help close door on COVID-19

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston have discovered what may be the Achilles' heel of the coronavirus, a finding that may help close the ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

COVID-19, cold, allergies and the flu: What are the differences?

If you have signs or symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it's important that you contact your health care provider right away for medical advice. But COVID-19, the common cold, seasonal allergies and the flu ...

Medications

Researcher urges caution using remdesivir to treat COVID-19

While the world has its eyes on vaccines to stop the spread of coronavirus, therapeutics are still necessary to treat hospitalized patients. One of these treatments, remdesivir, is the first and only antiviral agent of its ...

Medications

Could we use statins to treat COVID-19?

Nothing in medicine is as exciting as discovering new drugs. However, this process is time consuming, expensive and not always necessary. Sometimes, existing drugs can be used to manage illnesses that are different to those ...

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Antiviral drug

Antiviral drugs are a class of medication used specifically for treating viral infections. Like antibiotics for bacteria, specific antivirals are used for specific viruses. Unlike antibiotics, antiviral drugs do not destroy their target pathogen but inhibit their development.

Antiviral drugs are one class of antimicrobials, a larger group which also includes antibiotic, antifungal and antiparasitic drugs. They are relatively harmless to the host, and therefore can be used to treat infections. They should be distinguished from viricides, which are not medication but destroy virus particles outside the body.

Most of the antivirals now available are designed to help deal with HIV, herpes viruses (best known for causing cold sores and genital herpes, but actually causing a wide range of diseases), the hepatitis B and C viruses, which can cause liver cancer, and influenza A and B viruses. Researchers are working to extend the range of antivirals to other families of pathogens.

Designing safe and effective antiviral drugs is difficult, because viruses use the host's cells to replicate. This makes it difficult to find targets for the drug that would interfere with the virus without harming the host organism's cells.

The emergence of antivirals is the product of a greatly expanded knowledge of the genetic and molecular function of organisms, allowing biomedical researchers to understand the structure and function of viruses, major advances in the techniques for finding new drugs, and the intense pressure placed on the medical profession to deal with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of the deadly acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic.

Almost all anti-microbials, including anti-virals, are subject to drug resistance as the pathogens mutate over time, becoming less susceptible to the treatment. For instance, a recent study published in Nature Biotechnology emphasized the urgent need for augmentation of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) stockpiles with additional antiviral drugs including zanamivir (Relenza) based on an evaluation of the performance of these drugs in the scenario that the 2009 H1N1 'Swine Flu' neuraminidase (NA) were to acquire the tamiflu-resistance (His274Tyr) mutation which is currently wide-spread in seasonal H1N1 strains.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA