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Virologica Sinica, 25 (4) : 225-226, 2010
Wuhan Institute of Virology,Chinese Academy of Sciences
Viral diseases were largely untreatable 40 years ago. The first antivirals were developed in the 1960s, mostly to deal with herpes viruses, and were found using traditional trial-and-error drug discovery methods. This was a time-consuming, hit-or-miss procedure, performed in the absence of a good knowledge of how the virus propagated. It was not until the 1980s, when the full genetic sequences of viruses began to be unraveled, that researchers began to understand the virus life cycle in detail, and exactly what chemicals were needed to inhibit the specific reproductive steps. Now dozens of antiviral treatments are available, and medical research is rapidly exploiting new knowledge and technology to develop additional therapies. However there is still no or limited treatment available for many viral infections. Viral diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) have a major threat on human health in China and throughout the world. Furthermore, established viruses are now developing resistance to available therapies making this another important area for continued drug discovery.
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  Published online: 5 Aug 2010
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