81 (5) pp 255-265

The use of antiviral drugs in veterinary medicine

There is an increasing interest in the use of antiviral agents for the treatment of viral infections in animals.To date, the veterinary clinical use of antiviral drugs has mainly been limited to the application ofdrugs developed for humans in companion animals. However, the research and development of antiviraldrugs against specific animal viruses are ongoing. The interest in the use of antiviral drugs is also growingin livestock farming, where viral infections often have a high economic and social impact. The developmentof drugs for food-producing animals in particular requires thorough knowledge of thepharmacokinetics and (eco) toxicity, for determining maximum residue limits (MRLs) and withdrawalperiods. Experience gained from human medicine shows that the therapeutic efficacy of antiviral drugs maydecrease with the emergence of less sensitive (resistant) virus variants. Therefore, the development ofdrugs with a high barrier to antiviral resistance, and especially for mass application in veterinary medicine,is very important. There are only a few studies on the efficacy of (human) antiviral drugs against animalviruses, and clinical trials are usually limited to efficacy and toxicity. There is a lack of scientific data onthe dosage and risk of resistance development of antiviral products in animals. Control of viral diseasesby means of an antiviral therapy appears to be attractive for multiple reasons, but a lot of research is requiredto achieve an appropriate practical application. This article provides a brief introduction on the developmentof antiviral resistance, and gives an overview of the literature on antiviral treatment options forthe most common viral diseases in domestic animals, with specific attention to the available data on antiviralresistance development.

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