Virally encoded enzymes that are necessary for the production and release of viral particles are the targets of medications used to treat certain viral infections.
Protease inhibitors are used to treat HIV infections. These medications inhibit the HIV-encoded enzyme protease, which plays an essential role in the production of viral particles. When HIV replicates, several of its proteins are translated as a single amino acid chain, or polyprotein; protease then cleaves the polyprotein into individual proteins. The various protease inhibitors, including indi-navir, ritonavir, saquinavir, and nelfinavir, differ in several aspects including dosage and side effects. ■ HIV protease, p. 743
Neuraminidase inhibitors inhibit neuraminidase, an enzyme encoded by influenza viruses that is essential for the release of infectious viral particles from infected cells. Two neuraminidase inhibitors are currently available—zanamivir, which is administered by inhalation, and oseltamivir, which is administered orally. Both limit the duration of influenza infections when taken within two days of the onset of symptoms.
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