Approved Antiviral Drugs over the Past 50 Years

Clin Microbiol Rev. 2016 Jul;29(3):695-747. doi: 10.1128/CMR.00102-15.


Since the first antiviral drug, idoxuridine, was approved in 1963, 90 antiviral drugs categorized into 13 functional groups have been formally approved for the treatment of the following 9 human infectious diseases: (i) HIV infections (protease inhibitors, integrase inhibitors, entry inhibitors, nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, and acyclic nucleoside phosphonate analogues), (ii) hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections (lamivudine, interferons, nucleoside analogues, and acyclic nucleoside phosphonate analogues), (iii) hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections (ribavirin, interferons, NS3/4A protease inhibitors, NS5A inhibitors, and NS5B polymerase inhibitors), (iv) herpesvirus infections (5-substituted 2'-deoxyuridine analogues, entry inhibitors, nucleoside analogues, pyrophosphate analogues, and acyclic guanosine analogues), (v) influenza virus infections (ribavirin, matrix 2 protein inhibitors, RNA polymerase inhibitors, and neuraminidase inhibitors), (vi) human cytomegalovirus infections (acyclic guanosine analogues, acyclic nucleoside phosphonate analogues, pyrophosphate analogues, and oligonucleotides), (vii) varicella-zoster virus infections (acyclic guanosine analogues, nucleoside analogues, 5-substituted 2'-deoxyuridine analogues, and antibodies), (viii) respiratory syncytial virus infections (ribavirin and antibodies), and (ix) external anogenital warts caused by human papillomavirus infections (imiquimod, sinecatechins, and podofilox). Here, we present for the first time a comprehensive overview of antiviral drugs approved over the past 50 years, shedding light on the development of effective antiviral treatments against current and emerging infectious diseases worldwide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Communicable Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Communicable Diseases / virology*
  • Drug Approval*
  • Drug Discovery / trends
  • Humans


  • Antiviral Agents