Medications

Gilead seeks FDA approval for remdesivir

(HealthDay)—Gilead Sciences has applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval for its COVID-19 treatment, remdesivir. The antiviral drug will take the brand name Veklury, the company said.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Effort to screen potential COVID-19 antiviral drugs underway

Six months into the pandemic, people diagnosed with mild cases of COVID-19 still are told to isolate themselves and wait out the infection at home. Doctors monitor such patients so they can intervene if their condition deteriorates, ...

Medical research

Virus co-opts immune protein to avoid antiviral defences

By discovering a trick the hepatitis C virus uses to evade the immune system, scientists have identified a new antiviral defense system that could be used to treat many virus infections, according to new research published ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

How can we get effective treatments for COVID-19?

Researchers across the world have responded rapidly to COVID-19—a new disease that we don't yet know how to treat. In the search to find safe and effective treatments, teams of scientists are looking into more than 200 ...

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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