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Adv Virus Res. 1993;42:1-55.

Antiviral agents: characteristic activity spectrum depending on the molecular target with which they interact.

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Rega Institute for Medical Research, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.


The target protein (enzyme) with which antiviral agents interact determines their antiviral activity spectrum. Based on their activity spectrum, antiviral compounds could be divided into the following classes: (1) sulfated polysaccharides (i.e., dextran sulfate), which interact with the viral envelope glycoproteins and are inhibitory to a broad variety of enveloped viruses (i.e., retro-, herpes-, rhabdo-, and arenaviruses): (2) SAH hydrolase inhibitors (i.e., neplanocin A derivatives), which are particularly effective against poxvirus, (-)RNA viruses (paramyxovirus, rhabdovirus), and (+/-)RNA virus (reovirus); (3) OMP decarboxylase inhibitors (i.e., pyrazofurin) and CTP synthetase inhibitors (i.e., cyclopentenylcytosine), which are active against a broad range of DNA, (+)RNA, (-)RNA, and (+/-)RNA viruses; (4) IMP dehydrogenase inhibitors (i.e., ribavirin), which are also active against various (+)RNA and (-)RNA viruses and, in particular, ortho- and paramyxoviruses; (5) acyclic guanosine analogs (i.e., ganciclovir) and carbocyclic guanosine analogs (i.e., cyclobut-G), which are particularly active against herpesviruses (i.e., HSV-1, HSV-2, VZV, CMV); (6) thymidine analogs (i.e., BVDU, BVaraU), which are specifically active against HSV-1 and VZV because of their preferential phosphorylation by the virus-encoded thymidine kinase; (7) acyclic nucleoside phosphonates (i.e., HPMPA, HPMPC, PMEA, FPMPA), which, depending on the structure of the acyclic side chain, span an activity spectrum from DNA viruses (papova-, adeno-, herpes-, hepadna-, and poxvirus) to retroviruses (HIV); (8) dideoxynucleoside analogs (i.e., AZT, DDC), which act as chain terminators in the reverse transcriptase reaction and thus block the replication of retroviruses as well as hepadnaviruses; and (9) the TIBO, HEPT, and other TIBO-like compounds, which interact specifically with the reverse transcriptase of HIV-1 and thus block the replication of HIV-1, but not of HIV-2 or any other retrovirus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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