Pharmacology of Antiviral Age

Viruses are obligate intracellular parasites called virions and consist of RNA or DNA genomes (Table 4).9,10 The viral genome is surrounded by a virus-encoded protein shell capsid. In some cases, the capsid is surrounded by an envelope, a lipid bilayer membrane that contains additional virus-encoded proteins. With some variations, all virions have the same general viral life cycle and each stage is a potential target for pharmacological intervention (Figure 8).10

Table 4. Selected Human RNA and DNA Viruses.9
VirusClinical manifestations
RNA viruses
Influenza A and BInfluenza
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)Upper respiratory tract infection
Human immunodeficiency virus 1 and 2 (HIV‑1 and HIV‑2)AIDS
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)Hepatitis C infection
DNA viruses
Hepatitis B virus (HBV)Hepatitis B infection
Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 (HSV‑1 and HSV‑2)Primary herpetic gingivostomatitis
Genital herpes
Neonatal herpes
Herpes encephalitis
Herpes keratoconjunctivitis
Eczema herpeticum
Herpes-associated erythema multiforme
Recurrent herpetic infections
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV)Chickenpox and herpes zoster infections
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)Retinitis, esophagitis, and colitis
Figure 8. Stages of the viral life cycle and potential targets for antiviral agents.10