Viruses are divided into two classes according to whether their nucleic acid is DNA or RNA. DNA viruses of clinical importance include herpes simplex, varicella zoster, adenoviruses, variola, vaccinia, verruca and molluscum contagiosum. Drugs available for the specific treatment of some of the diseases caused by these agents are shown in the table. Many viruses of clinical importance, for example, colds, influenza and enteroviruses, are in the RNA group, but with one exception, the use of amantadine for certain forms of influenza, these are not so far amenable to drug therapy.
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