Because thymidine and deoxycytidine are essential components of desoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), these and similar substances have been modified to produce antimetabolites for the treatment of cancer, and experimentally against tumour-producing viruses. One modification, idoxuridine (Kerecid - SKF), is offered for the treatment of herpes simplex keratitis, of which the commonest form is dendritic ulcer. The drug does not kill the virus, but it does interfere with its multiplication. Strains of virus resistant to idoxuridine have been observed in experimental studies; whether these are important clinically is not known.
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