Viral Uncoating

After a virus enters a host cell, the protein coat must dissociate from the nucleic acid in order for replication to occur. Drugs that interfere with the uncoating step thus prevent viral replication. The only effective drugs that target this step, however, are those that block influenza A viruses. ■ influenza A virus, p. 586

Amantadine and Rimantadine

Two drugs, amantadine and rimantadine, which are similar in both their chemical structure and mechanism of action, block the uncoating of influenza A virus after it enters a cell. Consequently, they prevent or reduce the severity and duration of the disease. The drugs are only used until active immunization can be achieved, since immunization is important for long-term protection. Unfortunately, resistance develops frequently and may eventually limit the usefulness of the drugs.

Eukaryotic host cell

Eukaryotic host cell

Viral uncoating

(effective against influenza A virus) Amantadine Rimantadine

Nucleic acid synthesis

(effective primarily against herpesviruses and HIV) Nucleoside analogs Non-nucleoside polymerase inhibitors Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors

Assembly and release of viral particles

(effective against HIV) Protease inhibitors (effective against influenza viruses) Neuraminidase inhibitors

Viral uncoating

(effective against influenza A virus) Amantadine Rimantadine

Nucleic acid synthesis

(effective primarily against herpesviruses and HIV) Nucleoside analogs Non-nucleoside polymerase inhibitors Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors

Assembly and release of viral particles

(effective against HIV) Protease inhibitors (effective against influenza viruses) Neuraminidase inhibitors

Figure 21.16 Targets of Antiviral Drugs

21.6 Mechanisms of Action of Antiviral Drugs 525

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