A great target then in antiviral drug production, is to prevent the replication of the virus’ DNA or RNA. No DNA/RNA = no virus! The left–side panel depicts how extra phosphate molecules are added onto the backbone of the nucleotide-sugar-phosphate building block of DNA. When the additional phosphates are there, no other nucleotides can be hooked onto the end, thus elongating the new DNA chain. This HALTS the replication process because additional building blocks to make the new DNA strand cannot be added.
As with antibiotic development where scientists cleverly targeted the basic functions of a disease-causing bacterial cell in order to disable it, they have likewise targeted the basic functions of a virus, which is illustrated in the right-side panel. A virus must have the ability to attach to a cell (1), to get into a cell (2), to de-envelope itself and release its nucleic material (3), to take over the cell into doing its bidding (4), to re-assemble new capsules (5), and finally,to rupture out of the cell (6).
OK, so I’ve inadvertently but finally answered 2 of 3 previous questions posed:
1) Why are viruses so destructive and even deadly?
Because they take over and eventually destroy our cells.
2) What then, does get rid of a virus?
Our immune systems, TIME for our immune systems to rid our bodies of the virus, and if necessary, antiviral drugs.
Next post, we’ll finally explain why viral infections often progress to bacterial infections.