antiviral drug

(redirected from Anti-viral drug)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

antiviral drug,

any of several drugs used to treat viral infections. The drugs act by interfering with a virus's ability to enter a host cell and replicate itself with the host cell's DNA. Some drugs block the virus's attachment or entry into the cell; others inhibit replication or prevent the virus from shedding the protein coat that surrounds the viral DNA. Antiviral drug development has been concurrent with advances in molecular biologymolecular biology,
scientific study of the molecular basis of life processes, including cellular respiration, excretion, and reproduction. The term molecular biology was coined in 1938 by Warren Weaver, then director of the natural sciences program at the Rockefeller Foundation.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and genetic engineeringgenetic engineering,
the use of various methods to manipulate the DNA (genetic material) of cells to change hereditary traits or produce biological products. The techniques include the use of hybridomas (hybrids of rapidly multiplying cancer cells and of cells that make a
..... Click the link for more information.
 that allow study and definition of the genetic codes of viral DNA. Study at this level was not possible until electron microscopesmicroscope,
optical instrument used to increase the apparent size of an object. Simple Microscopes

A magnifying glass, an ordinary double convex lens having a short focal length, is a simple microscope. The reading lens and hand lens are instruments of this type.
..... Click the link for more information.
 became available and it is only since the 1980s that antiviral drugs have been on the market.

Antivirals are now available for a wide variety of viral diseases. Ribavirin, available since the mid-1980s, is used to treat respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a cause of severe childhood respiratory infections. It is thought to inhibit messenger RNA. Ribavirin has few side effects, but is prohibitively expensive for all but the most serious cases. Amantadine and rimantadine, which are effective against strains of influenza A, act by interfering with viral uncoating.

Herpes simplexherpes simplex
, an acute viral infection of the skin characterized by one or more painful, itching blisters filled with clear fluid. It is caused by either of two herpes simplex viruses: Type 1, herpes labialis,
..... Click the link for more information.
 virus can now be treated by a highly selective drug, acyclovir (Zovirax), that interferes with an enzyme critical to the growth of the DNA chain. Although not a cure, the drug lessens the frequency and severity of outbreaks. Acyclovir is also used to lessen the pain and speed the healing of herpes zosterherpes zoster,
infection of a ganglion (nerve center) with severe pain and a blisterlike eruption in the area of the nerve distribution, a condition called shingles. The causative organism is varicella-zoster, a common, filtrable virus that also causes chickenpox, and can hide
..... Click the link for more information.
 (shingles).

The search for cures and palliatives for AIDSAIDS
or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome,
fatal disease caused by a rapidly mutating retrovirus that attacks the immune system and leaves the victim vulnerable to infections, malignancies, and neurological disorders. It was first recognized as a disease in 1981.
..... Click the link for more information.
 has yielded drugs such as zidovudine (AZTAZT
or zidovudine
, drug used to treat patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS; also called azidothymidine. Originally developed in 1964 as an anticancer drug, AZT was never approved for that purpose.
..... Click the link for more information.
), which inhibits the transcription of RNA to DNA in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Ganciclovir and cidofovir are used in the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV), a virus that affects the eyes of immunosuppressed patients. Fomivirsen, which is an antisenseantisense,
DNA or RNA manipulated in a laboratory so that its components (nucleotides) form a complementary copy of normal, or "sense," messenger RNA (mRNA; see nucleic acid).
..... Click the link for more information.
 drug, is also used to treat CMV.

See also nucleic acidnucleic acid,
any of a group of organic substances found in the chromosomes of living cells and viruses that play a central role in the storage and replication of hereditary information and in the expression of this information through protein synthesis.
..... Click the link for more information.
, virusvirus,
parasite with a noncellular structure composed mainly of nucleic acid within a protein coat. Most viruses are too small (100–2,000 Angstrom units) to be seen with the light microscope and thus must be studied by electron microscopes.
..... Click the link for more information.
, retrovirusretrovirus,
type of RNA virus that, unlike other RNA viruses, reproduces by transcribing itself into DNA. An enzyme called reverse transcriptase allows a retrovirus's RNA to act as the template for this RNA-to-DNA transcription.
..... Click the link for more information.
.

References in periodicals archive ?
Parliament member Taymour Abdel Ghany called on the government to set up labs to manufacture anti-viral drugs to combat the disease.
This include national strategies to deal with any outbreak, as well as stockpiles of anti-viral drugs.
Three van loads of about 20 workers were driven from the plant and given the anti-viral drug Tamiflu at a surgery in the nearby market town of Halesworth.
However, overall costs are still rising in Canada because this optimal therapy with three anti-viral drugs is 3.5 times more expensive than dual therapy including generic AZT.
Treatments: anti-viral drug Ribavirin (only works if given within first six days of illness)
is developing Product R as a broad-spectrum, non-toxic anti-viral drug. In both clinical and laboratory studies, Product R has also shown promise for the treatment of viral infections such as AIDS and human papilloma virus (HPV), and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
The anti-viral drug cocktail targets two of three enzymes that HIV needs to reproduce.
Louis University, randomly assigned half the children to five days of treatment with oral acyclovir, an anti-viral drug best known for its use against genital herpes.
High-flying barrister Cherie, 54, was put on a course of an anti-viral drug and cancelled all her engagements.
The Liberian Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) announced that it has given the green nod for clinical trials of the anti-viral drug "brincidofovir for the treatment of Ebola patients.
Two studies from experts at the Health Protection Agency (HPA) showed a ''high proportion'' of British schoolchildren reporting problems after taking the anti-viral drug. Data was gathered from children at three schools in London and one in the South West who were given Tamiflu earlier this year after classmates became infected.
HEALTH authorities in Kirklees and Calderdale have insisted they have enough anti-viral drug collection places to cope with swine flu.