02.11 Antiviral Agents for Treatment

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    1. Antiviral Agents for Protection– Anti-viral medications attack viruses. There are specific antivirals and broad-spectrum antivirals. Their mechanisms do not destroy the virus but instead hinder their development.  
      1. Mechanisms of Antiviral Drug Action
        1. Attachment antagonists- these drugs can help prevent attachment to the host cell and inhibit entry. (HIV targeting helper T cells/Drugs that block CD4 or CCR5 receptors on a helper T cell. example drug: Fuzeon Is an HIV fusion inhibitor)
        2. Inhibition of viral uncoating- Drugs that prevent viruses carryout the process known as uncoating, where they expell their genome from their capsid during or after penetration. ex. Amantidine inhibit uncoating of the influenzae virus.
        3. Inhibition of nucleic acid synthesis- inhibit the production fo DNA or RNA. ex. Acyclovir- used to treat herpes simplex and varicella zoster.
        4. Inhibition of protein synthesis- All viruses use the cellular ribosomes to translate their viral mRNA then translate that into structural and envelope proteins as well as viral enzymes.
        5. Inhibition of viral proteins- Compromising the envelope or structure of a viral enzyme can stop it from infecting other cells. One example is the enzyme Integrase which is used to combine viral genome to host DNA. ex. Raltegravir inhibits integrase and is used to treat HIV infection.
      2. Antivirals are not used for bacterial infections. Just as antibiotics do not treat viral infections, so is the case with antiviral drugs not effective against bacterial infections.


Today we’re going to be talking about Antiviral Agents for protection.

In this lesson on antiviral agents for protections we will discuss exactly what an antiviral agent is and explains what it can and cannot do as well as  discuss how they work.


An antiviral agent is something that can target specific viruses are these agents can be broad spectrum and affect many types of viruses. These antiviral agents do NOT destroy viruses but instead they hinder their development. So pictured here is a capsule of one of the most famous antiviral agents commonly known as Tamiflu. This drug targets influenza and the active ingredient was isolated in the Chinese anise star plant.  And if given within 24-48 hours of flu symptoms and testing positive this drug will prevent the virus from being released from our cells to then go and infect other cells.

That is one method of antiviral drug actions. Other ways include acting as  antagonists that prevent viruses from entering into our cells. (a mechanism by the drug Fuzeion for treating HIV)

Actually inhibiting viral uncoating so that they cannot release their viral DNA or RNA which is the method of Amantadine which can target Influenza A.  Herpes and Chicken Pox can be attacked with a drug named Acyclovar which inhibits the virus from synthesis its nucleic acids (DNA/RNA).  Another mechanism block the production of viral proteins which renders them helpless and lastly some antivirals can actual inhibit viral proteins themselves, like the enzyme protein integrase that when inhibited prevents viral DNA combining with host DNA.

So one final thought about antivirals we can remember by this quote from Benjamin Franklin. that state the best doctor gives the least medicines.

Antivirals do not treat bacterial infections. So it is important to only use these drugs once it is determined the patient tests positive for the virus.


So in review Antivirals DO NOT destroy viruses. Antivirals do hinder the development of viruses. And this is done as antivirals inhibit viral processes. And lastly antivirals DO not treat bacterial infections.

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