Current reports of the use of 5-iodo-2'-deoxyuridine (IDU) in the successful therapy of herpes simplex keratitis focus attention of the availability of antiviral agents. Although both chemotherapeutic agents and antibiotics have been successful in treating bacterial infections, very few substances have been found which suppress the replication of true viruses. This is not surprising since antibacterial substances act by interfering with bacterial metabolic processes while viruses lack metabolic processes of their own and are dependent on those of the parasitized host cells. Thus, an ideal antiviral agent would selectively inhibit those cellular pathways concerned with viral replication without simultaneously interfering with essential cellular processes.
Basically, viruses consist of nucleic acid cores of desoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA) which are surrounded by protein coats. Cells receive the necessary information for replication of both viral nucleic acid and viral protein from the viral nucleic acid. Interference with replication of viral
Carver DH. Current Status of Antiviral Substances. Arch Ophthalmol. 1963;70(3):291-292. doi:10.1001/archopht.1963.00960050293001