Antiviral agents are used to inhibit production of viruses that cause disease. Most antiviral agents are only effective while the virus is replicating.
It is difficult to find medicines that are selective for the virus as viruses share most of the metabolic processes of the host cell. However, some enzymes are only present in viruses and these are potential targets for antiviral drugs.
Agents that inhibit the transcription of the viral genome are DNA polymerase inhibitors and reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Protease inhibitors inhibit the post-translational events. Other antiviral agents inhibit the virus from attaching to or penetrating the host cell. Immunomodulators induce production of host cell enzymes, which stop viral reproduction. Integrase strand transfer inhibitors prevent integration of the viral DNA into the host DNA by inhibiting the viral enzyme integrase. Neuraminidase inhibitors block viral enzymes and inhibit reproduction of the viruses.
Please refer to the drug classes listed below for further information.