The Whole Truth About Antiviral Drugs and Immunostimulants

The symptoms of this disease are familiar to everyone, so we will not dwell on this. So why do we treat them, not immediately kill the virus?

It would seem elementary — to eliminate the cause of the disease, not the consequence.

First of all, you need to understand two things. First: the smaller the organism, the faster it reproduces. This is clearly traced in the sequence: mouse, cat, human, elephant, whale. If we are talking about bacteria — they divide every couple of minutes. As for viruses — their reproduction speed is lightning fast. That’s why they cause epidemics.

Second: the smaller the organism, the more primitive it is. That’s why multiple genetic errors — mutations occur during virus reproduction. They can enhance the infectivity and danger of the virus, or vice versa. But the most important thing — this mechanism creates a crazy number of virus subspecies.

Let’s return to the cold, keeping these two facts in mind. Respiratory viruses are very:





What does this mean? It’s hard to find a drug against something that constantly changes. It’s easier to pay attention to cold prevention, which we wrote about earlier. And yet, if you get sick and want to take antivirals…

You are in for a waste of money. Let’s figure it out.

Interferons. Often found in the form of nasal sprays. They were developed for the treatment of hepatitis viruses and have nothing to do with ARVI. Remember — all viruses are absolutely different. They differ even more than people.

Inosine pranobex. A drug that is widely used in the post-Soviet space as an immunostimulant. Banned by the FDA for use in the United States back in 1981 as ineffective. In our country, it is used for viral hepatitis, ARVI, herpes, and God knows what other diagnoses. In developed countries, they have long forgotten about it.

Tilorone. An incredible brainchild of the Soviet pharmaceutical industry! Well, not quite. The substance was patented in the United States back in 1968. It was believed that it has properties to increase the formation of interferon in the body — a natural substance that kills viruses. After unsuccessful attempts to create a drug from it in the 1970s, they forgot about it. But not in the CIS. Here, tilorone continues to be manufactured and sold on a large scale, although no research meeting international standards has been conducted.

Plant immunostimulants, primarily echinacea. By no means use echinacea preparations! Despite its plant origin, it turned out to be a powerful immunostimulant. Sounds cool, right? If an immunostimulant — will enhance immunity and there will never be infections! They used to think so. And then it turned out that echinacea activates the immune system to such an extent that it begins to attack its own tissues! Severe autoimmune diseases begin, for example, when your own immunity «kills» the thyroid gland, damages nerve tissue, joints. After this, echinacea preparations were strictly banned in developed countries and are now used only by specialized immunologists.

Homeopathic remedies. Well, this is just unscientific. There is no question of any clinical trials. The medieval principle of homeopathy is that «like cures like». By this logic, if a substance causes a temperature rise, then it will lower the temperature in minuscule doses. If viruses could laugh — they would appreciate such a joke. It’s unclear how people believe in this in the 21st century.

Neuraminidase inhibitors. The only group with more or less proven effectiveness, recommended by the Cochrane Evidence-Based Medicine Database and included in the WHO list of essential medicines. The group includes zanamivir and oseltamivir, which are used only for the treatment of influenza, not ordinary ARVI. According to the manufacturers, the drugs block the enzymes of viruses that are responsible for infecting new cells. However, according to the results of 46 authoritative studies, everything is not so rosy. Indeed, the duration of the disease is reduced, but the specific mechanism of action is not proven. These drugs are used only in severe cases due to their high cost and side effects.

So maybe it’s easier not to get sick? Yes, that’s right, it’s much better to avoid ARVI than to treat it. We wrote more about prevention here.