Alternatives to Vaccine: Antiviral Medicines
Antiviral drugs are medicines that help stop viral infections. They do not destroy the viruses; instead, they interfere with viral replication, which then stops the infection.
Four common antiviral medicines are: rimantadine, amantadine, oseltamavir (better known as Tamiflu), and zanamavir. These antiviral drugs are classified by how they function to disable viruses. Rimantandine and
amantadine are classified as M2 inhibitors. Oseltamavir and and zanamavir are classified as neuraminidase inhibitors.
M2 inhibitor drugs
M2 inhibitors, like rimantandine and amantadine, interfere with the viral protein M2. M2 is normally used in the uncoating of the virus’s protein shell. Once the protein shell is removed, the viral RNA is able to start the viral replication process in the host cell.
However, when M2 inhibitors are present, the virus cannot remove its protein shell, and therefore, its RNA cannot be released, stopping viral replication.
Neuraminidase inhibitor drugs
Neuraminidase inhibitor, like oseltamavir (Tamiflu) and amantadine, interfere with the viral surface protein neuraminidase. Normally, newly formed viruses use neuraminidase surface proteins to escape from host cells.
Neuraminidase inhibitors halt the spread of virus to new cells because they bind to the viruses’ neuraminidase surface proteins while they are in the host cell. This disables the neuraminidase, making the virus unable to escape from the cell and find a new host cell, therefore preventing the virus from causing further disease.