How Do Antiviral Drugs Fight Viral Diseases?

Unlike other antimicrobials, antiviral drugs do not deactivate or destroy the microbe (in this case, the virus) but act by inhibiting replication.

In this way, they prevent the viral load from increasing to a point where it could cause pathogenesis, allowing the body’s innate immune mechanisms to neutralize the virus.

Can medicine kill viruses?

Viruses are structurally different from bacteria. Antibiotics cannot kill viruses because bacteria and viruses have different mechanisms and machinery to survive and replicate. The antibiotic has no “target” to attack in a virus. However, antiviral medications and vaccines are specific for viruses.

How Do Antiviral Drugs Work biology?

Most of the antiviral agents work by inhibiting viral DNA synthesis. These drugs chemically resemble normal DNA nucleosides, molecules containing deoxyribose and either adenine, guanine, cytosine, or thymine. Viral enzymes then add phosphate groups to these nucleoside analogs to form DNA nucleotide analogs.

Why do doctors not prescribe antivirals?

Widespread use of antivirals leads to shortages, making it unavailable to the sickest. Overuse and incorrect use of antiviral medications can lead to resistance, causing the medication to become ineffective over time.

How effective are antivirals?

If you are already sick and it has been less than 48 hours since the onset of symptoms, an antiviral drug may help by: If you have been exposed to influenza, an antiviral drug may be about 70%-90% effective in preventing illness.

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