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Viruses represent a large group of infective agents that are composed of a core of nucleic acids, either RNA or DNA, surrounded by a layer of protein. They are not really living organisms according to general understanding, since they lack the cell membrane that is associated with living cells. Viruses can reproduce only inside a living cell, and they cause many diseases. Viruses are not normally affected by antibiotics but a small number of viruses can either be destroyed or have their growth stopped by drugs.
The drugs as of 2004 available for treatment of viral diseases in children are:
In addition to the above drugs, there are drugs which treat retrovirus infections. Retroviruses are composed of RNA molecules instead of DNA, and the only treatable one is the one that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). The drugs in this group that are appropriate for treatment of children are as follows:
Other drugs for treatment of HIV disease are marketed, but there have been neither sufficient studies not clinical experience to recommend their use in children.
Author Info: Samuel Uretsky PharmD, Thomson Gale, Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health, 2006
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