Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

North Korea reports another fever surge amid COVID-19 crisis

North Korea on Tuesday reported another large jump in illnesses believed to be COVID-19 and encouraged good health habits, as a mass outbreak spreads through its unvaccinated population and military officers were deployed ...

Medical research

Unique binding of delta variant may explain high transmissibility

Unlike other SARS-CoV-2 variants, the delta variant can attach to copies of itself, forming larger aggregations, or clumps, of viral particles, suggests a study by scientists at the National Institutes of Health. The researchers ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Five facts about Bell's palsy

No one's exactly sure what causes Bell's palsy, a condition that causes sudden facial weakness on one side of the face. But the symptoms are unmistakable. Once the weakness, or paralysis, sets in—usually on one side of ...

Medications

WHO 'strongly recommends' Pfizer's COVID pill

The World Health Organization said Friday it "strongly recommended" Pfizer's COVID-19 antiviral pill Paxlovid for patients with milder forms of the disease who were still at a high risk of hospitalization.

Surgery

5 reasons to consider becoming an organ donor

While 2021 proved to be a record-breaking year for organ donation in the U.S., many people are still hesitant to register to become a donor. Nationwide, only about 48% of people are registered to be organ donors, according ...

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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