Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Hepatitis C: silent killer

A trio of researchers were awarded the Nobel Medicine Prize on Monday for their discovery of the Hepatitis C virus, paving the way for blood tests and new treatments.

Medical research

New drug candidate found for hand, foot and mouth disease

A study appearing next week in the journal Nature Communications offers some good news in the search for antiviral drugs for hard-to-treat diseases. Researchers have identified a potential new drug candidate against enterovirus ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

A primer on viruses, vaccines and therapies

Since the novel coronavirus SARS-Cov-2 emerged late last year, it has been virtually impossible to consume any news without encountering stories about the virus and how it spreads, potential treatments, and the development ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

COVID-19 drugs: Are there any that work?

Question: I've heard several drugs mentioned as possible treatments for COVID-19. What are they and how do they work?

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.

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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