Acyclovir is Losing Effectiveness

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antiviral drug

Natural products have the potential to result in a comprehensive, anti-herpes therapy.RSC Advances (1)

Drugs like acyclovir (ACV) are the standard treatment against the herpes virus (HSV) (1). However, more and more strains of the herpes virus have learned to protect themselves against these drugs. Scientists call this situation “drug resistance.”

Drug resistance has become a serious problem in the last few years (1).

Normally, drug resistant strains show up in people with a weak immune system. However, researchers found that drug resistant strains were also widespread in individuals with a healthy immune system (1). Thus, there is a need for safe and effective, new antiviral products.

Study authors wrote that “resistant HSV occurs frequently in clinical therapy when using nucleoside analogs, including ACV and penciclovir (PCV) together with their respective prodrugs valacyclovir and famciclovir. Duan et al. revealed that ACV-resistant HSV-1 isolates in immunocompetent patients with herpes keratitis had a relatively high prevalence (1).”

natural antiviral

Because the standard drug discovery process failed, there is a growing need to look beyond the traditional chemical route. According to the Jinan University researchers, “Because of recent technological advances, together with unrealized expectations from current lead generation strategies, there is a renewed interest in natural products in the field of drug discovery (1).”

Thousands of studies showed that many natural ingredients work effectively against the herpes virus.

As the study authors noted, “Natural products, particularly traditional medicines, which have provided multiple novel drug leads, are known to be an important source of anti-HSV agents (1).”

The bottom line?

In recent years, potential targets for anti-HSV agents have been identified, many of them natural products. Perhaps it is time for biotechnology companies to truly begin developing botanical drugs based on these natural substances.


(1) Mei-Gong Zhong,   Yang-Fei Xiang,   Xian-Xiu Qiu,  Zhong Liu,*   Kaio Kitazato* and Yi-Fei Wang* “Natural products as a source of anti-herpes simplex virus agents” RSC Adv., 2013,3, 313-328


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