Option D7: Antivirals

By: Lana & Layal Abuhamdeh
Viruses are much smaller than bacteria
Many different types of virus, vary in shape and structure
All viruses have a central core of deoxyribosenucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA),
surrounded by a coat (capsid) of regularly packed protein units called capsomeres.
Unlike bacteria they have no nucleus or cytoplasm, and are therefore not cells.
They do not feed, respire, excrete or grow, and they can reproduce only inside the cells
of living organisms, using the materials provided by the host cell.
They can replicate only by penetrating the living host cell and injecting their DNA or RNA
into the cell’s cytoplasm.
Group of microscopic, single-celled organisms
They've different shapes such as rods, spheres, spirals and so on.
possessing the prokaryotic type of cell construction
prokaryotic: The DNA of most bacteria is found in a single circular
chromosome and is distributed throughout the cytoplasm rather
than contained within a membrane-enclosed nucleus.
Some bacteria can cause food poisoning and infectious diseases in
humans, most are harmless and many are beneficial.
One difficulty in treating viral infections is the speed with
which the virus multiplies.
Antiviral drugs may work by altering the cell’s genetic
material so that the virus cannot use it to multiply.
Example: Acyclovir
 It is applied topically to treat cold sores caused by herpes
 Structure is similar to deoxyguanosine (one of the building
block s of DNA)
 It “tricks” the viral enzymes into using it as a building
block for the synthesis of viral DNA, and thus prevents the
virus from multiplying.
 Other
antiviral drugs work by preventing the
new viruses formed from leaving the cell and
Example: Amantadine
It is active against the influenza virus.
Neuraminidase: One of the enzymes used by all
influenza viruses to stick to the host cell wall
as it leaves.
 Amantadine works by inhibiting the active site
on this enzyme.
One of the problems with developing antiviral drugs is that
viruses are regularly mutating.
This is particularly the case with HIV which can lead to AIDS
(acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
Aids is caused by a retrovirus: contains RNA rather than DNA.
The virus invades certain types of white blood cell known as T
helper cells, which normally activate other cells in the
immune system, with the result that the body is unable to
fight infection.
Once the virus invades a healthy cell, its first task is to make
viral DNA from the RNA template using an enzyme called
reverse transcriptase. This is the opposite process to that
which takes place in normal cells.
 There
are various ways drugs can
counteract the HIV virus.
Example Drug: AZT (Zidovudine) similar
structure to acyclovir.
 AZT combines with the enzyme that the
HIV virus uses to build DNA from RNA, and
clogs up its active site.
 There
is no cure or vaccine FOR HIV. Treating
HIV positive individuals with antiretroviral
drugs can prolong the period until AIDS
 Best way to combat AIDS is still to educate
the population.

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