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Assay Systems: Testing Of Antiviral Drugs In Cell Culture (In Vitro)

Hans Jürgen Eggers
Published 1988 · Biology

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Testing for virus-inhibitory activity of chemicals in cell culture has sometimes furnished important leads in the development of antiviral drugs. The shortcomings of this so-called in vitro testing are obvious: substances which lack an effect on the viral replication cycle but, e.g., enhance antibody formation, improve nonspecific resistance, strengthen the interferon systems will not be detected by this method. Likewise, although so far only rarely described, some compounds affecting the viral replication cycle might reveal their antiviral effects only in an animal model, since metabolic activities of the organism, absent in cell culture, are required to convert the drug into its effective form. Most of the time, however, the reverse is true, viz. more compounds do appear active in a cell culture system than will later be found useful in the organism (Buthala, 1965; Eggers, 1977b). I shall refer to this problem in a later section.

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