Background: Viruses are the most devastating pathogens of almost all life forms including humans and animals. Viruses can replicate very fast and may affect any metabolic and physiological function of the host cell. Therefore, it has been a challenge to develop a universal and common treatment against viral pathogens, in contrast to bacterial pathogens. Virus-host interaction is a complex phenomenon and often is virus- and host cell-specific. Exciting new insights into the molecular pathogenesis and host-virus interactions have been gained over the past few decades. These advances have enabled researchers to design better antiviral drugs.
Methods: The literature related to various aspects of virus-host interactions: new insights and advances in drug development was collected from several scientific research related databases such as Science Direct, Google Scholar, Scopus, PubMed, AGRICOLA, and Medline, etc. Total number of 319 research papers was used to compile the information regarding drug development against viral pathogens.
Results: Clinical adequacy of antiviral drugs and their bioavailability are important parameters for effective treatment of viral infections. The problems associated with effective delivery of a drug in a safe and desired quantity have led to the search for (and design of) better drug delivery systems. In recent past, several new antiviral drugs have been developed, which have high therapeutic effectiveness against life-threatening viral diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B virus, herpes virus, dengue virus and influenza virus infections. The majority of recent advances in antiviral drug discovery were possible due to the developments in allied fields such as in vitro virus cultivation technology, molecular biology of viral-genome-encoded enzymes, complete-genome-sequence-based studies of viruses and identification of suitable targets for antiviral drugs in viral genomes. Recently, several novel drug delivery approaches including small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) have emerged to aid antiviral therapy.
Conclusion: The present review is aimed at providing an update on research and development efforts being made to create effective antiviral chemotherapeutic agents and approaches to their delivery to appropriate targeted cells or tissues.