Nucleoside analogues are a range of antiviral products used to prevent viral replication in infected cells. The most commonly used is Aciclovir. They work as antimetabolites by being similar enough to nucleosides to be incorporated into growing DNA strands, but different enough ensure that the resultant DNA is non-functional. They also affect normal cell growth, such as bone marrow cells, so there can be significant toxic effects.
There is a large family of nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors, because DNA production by reverse transcriptase is very different from normal human DNA replication, so it is possible to design nucleoside analogues that are preferentially incorporated by the former.
Nucleoside analogue drugs include:
- deoxyadenosine analogues
- deoxycytidine analogues
- deoxyguanosine analogues
- (deoxy-)thymidine analogues
- deoxyuridine analogues