Virus infection treatment

In contrast to a bacterial infection, antibiotics are ineffective against a viral infection. Nevertheless, there are several ways to treat a viral infection.

Treatment with antiviral medication

Antiviral medication is available for a few viral infections, such as the flu (influenza), COVID-19, hepatitis viruses, an infection with herpes viruses or HIV. The reason for this is that, unlike bacteria, viruses are very small, have no metabolism of their own and only multiply within cells. As a result, they offer little target for drugs. The medication is usually swallowed, but can also be injected into a vein or muscle. Antiviral drugs – such as protease inhibitors – work by inhibiting the formation (reproduction) of new viruses. Protease inhibitors are used, for example, for chronic hepatitis C or HIV infection. However, antiviral drugs are not suitable in every case. They can be poisonous (toxic) to human cells and may cause side effects such as fever, chills, weakness and muscle pain. In some cases, viruses can also react insensitively (resistant) to the medication.

Treatment of symptoms

There is no specific treatment for many viral diseases. Treatment is therefore usually limited to alleviating the symptoms. If the symptoms are mild, it may be sufficient to simply wait until they subside. As a rule, the body can cope well with a mild infection such as a cold.

For patients

As a patient, you cannot register directly for a consultation. Please get a referral from your primary care physician, specialist.

For referrer

Simply assign your patient to us online.

University Hospital Zurich
Department of Internal Medicine
Raemistrasse 100
8091 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 255 24 30
Assign online

Responsible Department

Related diseases