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New Antiviral Nucleoside Prodrugs Await Application

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In this review, we intend to highlight outstanding concepts of antiviral nucleoside prodrugs which have been developed in recent years, so as to improve the efficacy of a given antiviral drug or to overcome some drug deficiencies. Examples of antiviral carrier-linked nucleoside prodrugs or nucleoside bioprecursors are described, and their active mechanisms discussed. The described nucleoside prodrugs are classified in two structural classes: prodrugs bearing molecular modifications on the sugar moiety and prodrugs bearing molecular modifications on the nucleic base.

Despite the important research work accomplished through out the world during the last few years in developing improved antiviral drugs for the treatment of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), HBV (hepatitis B virus), HCV (hepatitis C virus), HSV (herpes simplex virus), HCMV (human cytomegalovirus), etc-infections, only few nucleoside antiviral prodrugs are marketed, while promising prodrugs deriving from original concepts were developed. The most relevant concepts are discussed: (1) - pronucleotide approach allows the design of prodrugs, which by-pass the first kinase phosphorylation step; (2) - drug design based on Bodor's concept for brain delivery improved drugs and (3) - 5'-O-carbonate nucleosides and deaminase approaches, which allow active drug regeneration.

Nonetheless, none of these innovative models have reached the market.

Keywords: anti-hiv drugs; antiviral carrier-linked nucleoside prodrugs; antiviral nucleoside biprecursors; antiviral nucleoside prodrugs

Document Type: Review Article


Affiliations: Laboratoire de Chimie Biomoleculaire, INSERM U382, Institut de Biologie du Developpement de Marseille (IBDM), Universite de la Mediterranee, Parc Scientifique de Luminy, 163 avenue de Luminy, case 901, 13288 Marseille cedex 9, France.

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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