Antivirals and antibiotics are two types of medication that protect the body from microorganisms. Microorganisms reproduce inside the body, causing infections. These medicines are important to fight against these infections.
Key Areas Covered
1. What are Antivirals
– Definition, Features, Importance
2. What are Antibiotics
– Definition, Features, Importance
3. Similarities Between Antivirals and Antibiotics
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Antivirals and Antibiotics
– Comparison of Key Differences
What are Antivirals
Antivirals are drugs that fight against viral infections in the body. There are four main characteristics of an antiviral drug: the ability to enter into infected cells, interference with viral nucleic acid synthesis, the ability to interfere with the virus’s ability to bind with cells, and the ability to stimulate the body’s immune system. Moreover, there are three mechanisms of action in antiviral drugs: inhibiting the viral attachment, preventing the genetic copying of the virus, and preventing viral production or the replication of the virus.
Furthermore, viruses are obligate intracellular pathogens. In addition, the main characteristic features of a virus are as follows:
- Lack of both a cell wall and a cell membrane,
- Does not carry out metabolic processes, must attach to and enter a host,
- Uses the host cell’s energy to synthesize protein, DNA, and RNA,
- Difficult to kill as it lives inside the host’s cell and a drug that kills the virus may also kill the cell.
What are Antibiotics
Antibiotics are a type of antimicrobial substance that acts against several bacteria. They are secondary metabolites. However, antibiotics are the most important type of antimicrobial agents, and therefore, they are important as medicines fighting against bacterial infections. They are significant in treating and preventing bacterial infections. Antibiotics can either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. But they are not active against other microbes, including viruses and fungi.
Moreover, antibiotics are chemical agents produced by bacteria, detrimental to other bacteria. The main importance of antibiotics is that they are produced by soil bacteria against the competing bacteria living in the soil. However, the first antibiotic found was penicillin, discovered by Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming in 1928.
Similarities Between Antivirals and Antibiotics
- Antivirals and antibiotics are medications given against infections of viruses and bacteria respectively.
- They work against the persistence and reproduction of microorganisms.
Difference Between Antivirals and Antibiotics
Antivirals refer to drugs used to treat infections caused by viruses while antibiotics refer to drugs used to treat infections caused by bacteria.
Antiviral drugs treat diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, Herpes virus, and influenza A and B viruses while antibiotics treat diseases such as food poisoning, Lyme disease, gonorrhea, urinary tract infections, etc.
Antiviral drugs either inhibit the viral attachment, prevent the genetic copying of the virus, or prevent viral production or the replication of the virus, while antibiotics kill bacteria or inhibit their growth.
Examples of antiviral drugs include Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, Famciclovir, Foscarnet, and Ganciclovir, while antibiotics include penicillins, tetracyclines, cephalosporins, macrolides, and fluoroquinolones.
In brief, antivirals and antibiotics are two types of medications that fight against microorganisms. Antiviral drugs fight against infections of viruses. They either inhibit the viral attachment, prevent the genetic copying of the virus, or prevent viral production or the replication of the virus. Examples of viral diseases include HIV, influenza A and B, hepatitis B and C, and herpes virus. Some examples of antiviral medication include Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, Famciclovir, Foscarnet, and Ganciclovir. On the other hand, antibiotics are the medication that treats bacterial infections. They either kill bacteria or inhibit the growth of bacteria. Some examples of bacterial infections include urinary tract infections, food poisoning, Lyme disease, gonorrhea, etc. In addition, examples of antibiotics are penicillins, tetracyclines, cephalosporins, macrolides, and fluoroquinolones. Therefore, the main difference between antivirals and antibiotics isthe type of medication.
- “Antivirals: Antiviral medication, what they treat & how they work.” Cleveland Clinic.
- “Antibiotics.” NHS choices.
- “Antiretroviral Drugs to Treat HIV Infection (31793869534)” NIAID – Own work (CC-BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
- “Staphylococcus aureus (AB Test)” By Don Stalons – Own Work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia