Antiviral drugs are used to combat viral infections. A good many work by interfering with virus replication.
Viral infections are hard to treat because viruses live and replicate inside cells. Therefore, there’s a limited number of metabolic functions for targeting and they are more “protected” from antivirals that travel via your bloodstream.
On the other hand, bacteria generally reproduce outside cells and have many metabolic functions that antibiotics can target. Thus, antiviral drug medication is more difficult to develop than antibacterial drugs.
Some antiviral drugs strengthen your immune response to a viral infection. These drug categories include:
Vaccines help prevent a viral infectious disease in the first place by stimulating your own natural defense mechanisms. Interferon drugs are copies of naturally occurring stuff that slows or stops virus replication. Immune globulin are antibodies collected from others and injected to prevent infection. Sometimes, immune globulins and vaccines are used to reduce infection severity.
Most antivirals are used to treat a HIV infection. Other antiviral drug medications and vaccines may be used to treat or prevent:
- Avian flu
- swine flu
- cold sores
- hepatitis B
- hepatitis C
- genital herpes
- viral meningitis
- viral pneumonia
- viral encephalitis
- herpes virus outbreak
- respiratory syncytial virus
- reduce early stage Parkinson’s symptoms
Antivirals may be brought to via mouth, inhaled, topically, drops, intravenous or intramuscular.
Antiviral drugs are not prescribed readily to treat an active infection because they can be toxic to your cells and some viruses can develop a resistance.
And antibiotics do not work against viral infections!