Treating viruses isn’t an easy task. They take over the cell, use its activities in their favor, and therefore are considered parasites .
An important question we should discuss is, why don’t doctors prescribe antibiotics for viral infections? Well, the answer lies within the bacteria’s structure.
Unlike viruses, bacteria are very similar to each other and different from us humans. This is reflected, for example, in very conserved protein elements different from ours found on their outer surface .
Antibiotics target those specific conserved elements which are significant for bacteria activity, thus eliminating the bacteria from the body. This fact becomes a problem when antibiotics eliminate good bacteria from the body as well .
Viruses, are actually parasites, and unlike bacteria, their elements aren’t conserved between one another and strikingly, in some cases, they mimic elements we have in our cells. This fact makes it difficult for our immune system to recognize viruses as a foreign element .
Therefore, treating viruses requires high creativity and very deep thought from doctors, researchers and pharmaceutical companies.
Over the years, the scientific community finally realized that understanding the molecular process of viral infection is important and will aid in the development of antiviral drugs.
For instance, acyclovir takes advantage of a specific viral molecular pathway and thus prevents further viral replication without affecting the normal cellular processes.
Turns out that a research team investigated whether inhibitors of a specific viral protein would stop and delay the replication of HSV-1 and HSV-2. Strikingly, the inhibitors stopped accumulation of viral genomes and infectious particles and blocked the viral replication cycle . Do I smell new herpes treatment???
These results are very encouraging since they enable an additional pathway to fight the virus. And it doesn’t end there, after scientists discover the mechanism by which this drug inhibits the spread of the virus, it can be used along with other antivirals as a cocktail, similar to HIV treatment, therefore preventing resistance.
Turns out that one of the tested inhibitors has already proven effective in animals and another is found in a topical anti fungal already FDA approved for use! 
Research team hopes that herpes virus changes very slowly. That gives them a better chance at investigating something that can work for a long time without allowing the virus to mutate as rapidly as currently approved treatments do [4-5].
1. Koonin EV, Senkevich TG, Dolja VV. The ancient Virus World and evolution of cells. Biol. Direct. 2006;1:29.
2. Woese CR, Fox GE (1977). “Phylogenetic structure of the prokaryotic domain: the primary kingdoms”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 74 (11): 5088–90.
3. Goodman, Louis, & Gilman, Alfred (1941). The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics (1st ed.) New York: The Macmillan Company.
4. J. E. Tavis, H. Wang, A. E. Tollefson, B. Ying, M. Korom, X. Cheng, F. Cao, K. L. Davis, W. S. M. Wold, L. A. Morrison. Inhibitors of Nucleotidyltransferase Superfamily Enzymes Suppress Herpes Simplex Virus Replication.Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 2014; 58 (12): 7451
5. Saint Louis University. “Enzyme inhibitors suppress herpes simplex virus replication, study finds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141218131937.htm>.