Acyclic nucleoside phosphonates: a key class of antiviral drugs

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2005 Nov;4(11):928-40. doi: 10.1038/nrd1877.


Almost 20 years after the broad antiviral activity spectrum of the first acyclic nucleoside phosphonates was described, several of these compounds have become important therapies for DNA virus and retrovirus infections. Here, we review the discovery and development of acyclic nucleoside phosphonates, focusing on cidofovir and its potential in the treatment of various herpes-, papilloma-, polyoma-, adeno- and pox-virus infections, adefovir for the treatment of hepatitis B and tenofovir for the treatment of AIDS and the prevention of HIV infections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / chemistry
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • DNA Virus Infections / drug therapy*
  • DNA Virus Infections / virology
  • Drug Design*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nucleosides / chemistry
  • Nucleosides / pharmacology*
  • Nucleosides / therapeutic use
  • Organophosphonates / chemistry
  • Organophosphonates / pharmacology*
  • Organophosphonates / therapeutic use


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Nucleosides
  • Organophosphonates