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Article
February 25, 1983

Chemotherapeutic agents against RNA viruses: ranks swelling

JAMA. 1983;249(8):989-991. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330320003001

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Abstract

The first antiviral agent licensed by the Food and Drug Administration for systemic use in the United States (October 1966) was amantadine hydrochloride, an agent that blocks infection by influenza A (and some influenza B) strains.

Yet, as recently as the influenza A epidemic of 1980, says R. Gordon Douglas, Jr, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine, Cornell University Medical College, New York, and physician-in-chief, New York Hospital, amantadine was not widely used due to a commonly held belief that synthetic agents directed against RNA viruses were not safe or effective (see accompanying story, p 991).

This attitude has begun to change. Declares Raphael Dolin, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York, "There are now a number of compounds that are promising, and the whole area of antiviral chemoprophylaxis is more established."

Two newer agents now in clinical trials have

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