Overload

Antivirals

Category: Medicines

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

 

A description of what a virus is can be found in the science section. The same section also provides a comprehensive, but simplified description of the Immune system. You will see from this description that there are three essential parts of the immune system that deal with viruses - the killer T cells, the antibodies and the Interferons. 

There are two main ways in which viruses which attack humans have been tackled - vaccines and antivirals

  • Vaccines - aim to bolster the body’s immune system to better attack viruses in the "complete particle" stage, outside of the organism's cells – before it attaches to the host’s cell. They traditionally consist of a version of the virus which is a weakened form of the real thing - so called attenuated viruses. They are intended to stimulate the immune system into building an immunological memory.  When the real pathogen attacks the subject, the immune system uses its immunological memory to deploy antibodies. Vaccines are difficult to successfully deploy against rapidly mutating viruses, such as influenza (the vaccine for which is updated every year).  And they have their own problems from latency.  The vaccine section explains why.  They are also of limited use in treating a patient who has already been infected.  This is where antivirals are used.
  • Anti-virals – are intended to be used for patients who have already been infected with a virus, where the virus has actually entered their cells and has started the disease. They are actually no more use than vaccines on very unstable viruses, but are for use on stable viruses.

Background

 

Every virus is different and goes through a certain life cycle. Antivirals are thus not substances that can be used on viruses in general, each substance is targeted at a specific virus. Furthermore they do not aim to destroy their target virus like antibiotics, but inhibit their development by targeting some point in their life cycle. There are essentially four types of antivirals: 

  • Interferons and interferon based drugs

  • Antibodies and antibody based drugs 

  • ‘Natural’ antivirals that occur in natural products 

  • Antiviral drugs, designed specifically for a stage in the cycle and for that virus

Interferon drugs

The body has its own mechanism of attacking and destroying viruses which are based on interferons and killer T cells. Killer T cells are destructive because they are the defence of last resort from the body’s point of view as they kill the cell as well as the virus. But interferons are different. Interferons are named after their ability to "interfere" with viral replication within host cells.  The class of drugs that uses Interferon are called “interferon drugs”.   A separate section has been provided to  explain this class in more detail.  Follow the link.

Antibody based anti-virals

Another way in which the body attacks viruses [all pathogens in fact] is by producing anti-bodies. The body can produce its own antibodies if it has had a small dose of the virus, as we saw in the case of vaccines, but an alternative approach has been to create antibody drugs, by synthesising antibodies, protein molecules that can bind to a pathogen and mark it for attack by other elements of the immune system. Once researchers identify a particular target on the pathogen, they can synthesise quantities of identical "monoclonal" antibodies to link up that target.

A monoclonal drug is now being sold to help fight respiratory syncytial virus in babies, and antibodies purified from infected individuals are also used as a treatment for hepatitis B.

Natural anti-virals

Houghton-the-sheltering-wing-of-the-most-high

There are a lot of natural sources of antivirals - garlic, oregano, ginseng, onions, echinacea, goldenseal, chamomile, shiitake, schizandra and St. John's wort. Antivirals can also be found in essential oils of various herbs, fruit and trees, such as basil oil, orange oil, lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, and sandalwood oil. Some species of mushrooms have been found to contain multiple antiviral chemicals. A protease inhibitor was isolated from the Shiitake mushroom (Lentinus edodes). Asafoetida (Ferula assafoetida), produces natural antiviral drug compounds that kill the swine flu virus, H1N1.

This area is extremely exciting for biologists and scientists as there is much work going on looking at traditional remedies used against diseases trying to identify the natural antivirals that do exist in these plants. The world is actually abundantly supplied with these plants and organisms and it only requires us to find these plants and creatures to find the necessary antivirals

From the drug companies’ point of view, however, this is not always a productive line of research simply because if we can simply go to our allotment and pick up a handful of garlic to treat most of our ailments, they make no money.

I found it somewhat hard to understand why we are not investigating all these natural antivirals and simply using them. Some of the research seems to be aimed at identifying the active component and then marketing it as a drug – why? Why not use the original product. Of course you know the answer – money!

Personally I would rather eat and drink my way to fitness and health anyday, but there you go, every one to his own, I suppose there are some that prefer popping pills.

To be fair, however, there are some viruses which are very stubborn - like HIV - and which may be better treated by an easy to administer drug, which is where antiviral drugs come in.

Antiviral drugs

Antiviral drugs are a class of synthetically produced drugs designed to target viruses. As the human body is well able to deal with the majority of viruses itself, these drugs target some very specific virulent and life threatening illnesses that the body either cannot fight by itself, or struggles to win against – HIV, hepatitis, Herpes and ‘flu more details are provided in the science section.

How it works

The reason antivirals have been placed in the overload section is because some pharmaceuticals have produced some rather extreme experiences - intense hallucinations and visions, generally speaking at too high a dose, but the reason they do this is very dependent on the drug classes.

Thus the reasoning and the explanation of how each type of drug produces a spiritual experience is provided in the observations for each drug.

You will be able to see which antivirals produce healing and thus suppression based experiences from the observations.

References and further reading

 

The paintings in this section are by  Georgiana Houghton.  Houghton is arguably the first ever abstract artist. In 1871, three years before the famous impressionists exhibition was held in Paris, she staged an exhibition of her almost entirely non-figurative watercolours in London. Her visionary art fascinated, provoked and impressed the Victorian public. So why was she completely forgotten?  One reason is that she was a woman in a world that only saw artistic genius in men. Another is that she never claimed to be the creator of her art anyway. Houghton was a medium. She worked at the height of the Victorian craze for ‘spiritualism’, communicating with the dead at her seances. Not only did the dear departed speak to her, they guided her hand when she drew. All her cosmic designs are spirit drawings, made by the hand of Georgiana Houghton yet created by the spirits of the dead working through her.

Observations

The following table shows the number of hallucinations according to eHealthme for antiviral drugs.  The eHealthme website uses the Adverse Drug Reports submitted by doctors to the FDA and SEDA in the USA and we have taken their figures and used them here.  The table is for 2010, but in the observations themselves we have provided more up-to-date figures, so that you are able to compare.

In some cases an observation exists for a drug which in 2010 had no record of producing spiritual experiences.

In the table below we have aso provided a link to the eHealthme site and to the drug itself.  From there you will be able to scroll down their entry and see the current side effects of the drug.  We do not keep on updating our figures as our objective is simply to show that the drug can cause an hallucination, but eHealthme keep their data up-to-date.  If the link does not take you to the drug and is 'broken' it may be because the drug has been renamed, or has been discontinued.

Type

Drugs of this type

Number of hallucinations

Illness

Entry inhibition

Fuzeon or Enfuvirtide

Maraviroc [celsentri]

4

-

HIV

HIV

Uncoating inhibition

Amantadine/Symmetrel

Rimantadine

135/93

-

Flu

Flu

Viral synthesis - nucleotide

Acyclovir and Zovirax

Brivudin

Cidofovir

Famciclovir/Famvir

Foscarnet

Ganciclovir

Idoxuridine/Herplex 7

Ribavirin and Copegus

Penciclovir/Denavir

Trifluridine/ Viroptic

Valacyclovir/Valtrex

55/79

-

-

-

-

8

-

188

-

-

49/189

Herpes

Herpes

CMV

Herpes

Herpes, CMV

CMV

Herpes

RSV, Hep C

Herpes

Herpes

Herpes

Viral synthesis – integrase

Raltegravir [Isentress]

-

HIV

Viral synthesis:

 

(i) the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs);

 

(ii) the nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NtRTI)

 

(iii) the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs)

 

Abacavir and Ziagen

Adefovir/Hepsera

Combivir [see below]

Delavirdine/Rescriptor

Didanosine or Videx

Efavirenz or Sustiva

Emtricitabine or Emtriva

Entecavir

Etravirine/Intelence

Lamivudine or Epivir

Nevirapine/Viramune

Rilpirivine

Stavudine and Zerit

Susteva [see Efavirenz above]

Tenofovir

Truvada

Zalcitabine/Hivid

Zidovudine

7

1

33

-

6

33

-

-

-

20

8/18

-

14

27

4

24

-

6

HIV

Hep B

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

Hep B

HIV

HIV, Hep B

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

Viral synthesis – antisense

Fomivirsen/Vitravene

 

CMV

Vitral synthesis - Protease

Amprenavir/Agenerase

Atazanavir/Reyataz

Crixivan

Fosamprenavir/Lexiva

Indinavir/Crixivan

Kaletra

Lopinavir

Nelfinavir/Viracept

Ritonavir/Norvir

Saquinavir/Invirase

Tipranavir/Aptivus

2

4

4

-

-

35

-

5

8

-

2

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

HIV

Release

Zanamivir (Relenza)

Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)

103

115

Flu

Flu

 

Fixed-dose combinations of antiretrovirals are multiple antiretroviral drugs combined into a single pill. The objective is to ‘help reduce pill burden’. They may combine different classes of antiretrovirals or contain only a single class. Licensed fixed-dose combinations are shown in the table below with the number of hallucinations from the eHealthme website.

Brand Name

Drug Names

Date of FDA Approval

Hallucinations

Combivir

zidovudine + lamivudine

1997

33

Trizivir

abacavir + zidovudine + lamivudine

2000

4

Kaletra

lopinavir + ritonavir

2000

35

Epzicom (in USA)
Kivexa (in Europe)

abacavir + lamivudine

2004

-

Truvada

emtricitabine + tenofovir

2006

24

Atripla

efavirenz + emtricitabine + tenofovir

2006

2

Complera

rilpivirine + emtricitabine + tenofovir

2011

-

The number of hallucinations seems to be more dependent on the time over which the drug has been available.

 

Related observations