New Antivirals and Antiviral Resistance
The field of antiviral therapy is relatively new. Whereas the first antibiotics were available in the 1940s, the first antiviral agent (idoxuridine) was not licensed until the 1960s. Furthermore, the number of antiviral agents available to clinicians today pale in comparison to the number of antibacterial agents. Conceptually it has been easier to develop antibacterial agents than antivirals. Bacteria replicate independent of the host whereas viruses are intracellular pathogens that depend upon viable host cells for their survival. Thus, it has been feared that agents toxic to viruses would also be toxic to host cells, whereas drugs active against bacteria are less likely to be toxic. However, an increasing understanding of molecular virology, including the identification of viral specific enzymatic and metabolic pathways, has facilitated the development of an increasing range of antiviral agents. Currently available antivirals have activity against the herpes family of viruses, influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus, hepatitis B and C, human papillomaviruses, lassavirus, and retroviruses (Kimberlin and Prober, 2003). Table 3.1 lists the non-antiretroviral antiviral agents licensed in the United States and the viruses against which they are active.
KeywordsHerpes Simplex Respiratory Syncytial Virus Antiviral Therapy Antiviral Agent Herpes Simplex Virus Infection
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