Antiviral drugs are a class of
Antiviral drugs are one class of
Most of the antiviral drugs now available are designed to help deal with
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 also harming the host organism's cells. Moreover, the major difficulty in developing vaccines and anti-viral drugs is due to viral variation.
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 pressure placed on the medical profession to deal with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (
The first experimental antivirals were developed in the 1960s, mostly to deal with
This was a very time-consuming, hit-or-miss procedure, and in the absence of a good knowledge of how the target virus worked, it was not efficient in discovering effective antivirals which had few