The global antivirals market size was estimated to be US$ 47.7 billion in 2021 and is expected grow at a CAGR of 3.6% between 2023 to 2032.
Antivirals are a group of medications that can directly attack the virus instead of traditional immunogenic and anti-inflammatory treatments. Over the past 6 decades, almost 100 new antiviral drugs or their combination therapies have been discovered and approved by governments across the world. Major antiviral drugs are classified by their mechanism of action such as reverse transcriptase inhibitors, protease inhibitors, neuraminidase inhibitors, and DNA polymerase inhibitors. Antiviral drugs are available in the form of tablets, liquids, and injectables.
The increasing prevalence of viral diseases like HIV, Zika, Hepatitis, and Influenza in recent years has mobilized the pharmaceutical industry to develop new medications against these viruses. However, the requirement of continuous drug development due to the rapidly evolving viral genome makes research and development in this sector novel yet challenging. Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic affected millions of people across the world and ensured a rapid surge in the prescription of antiviral drugs to curb the disease and death burden.
Enormous growth opportunities are expected in the global antivirals market as many pharmaceutical companies have invested and continue to do so in the coming years. Several key players are actively involved in the research and development of antiviral drugs against novel diseases which will improve overall knowledge and understanding of these drugs. Not just companies but governments and national organizations are also getting actively involved in the development of new antiviral drugs post Covid-19 pandemic.
The development of novel compounds against viral infections is very lucrative owing to patent rights and royalty fees. This segment is currently filled with branded and licensed antiviral drugs mostly across developed nations. Established supply chains, increased public awareness, reduced legal hurdles and increased revenue opportunities are inducing big pharmaceutical companies to enter this sector.
Antiviral drugs with high growth expectations:
As mentioned earlier, the major classes of antivirals include reverse transcriptase inhibitors, DNA polymerase inhibitors, protease inhibitors, and neuraminidase inhibitors. The reverse transcriptase inhibitors generate the most revenue as of 2021. Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) and Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI) are two categories of these drugs which are actively used for the treatment of HIV and Hepatitis. They are followed by classes like protease and DNA polymerase inhibitors which are currently being used for similar treatments with varying impacts. Combination therapies of different classes of antivirals are also being utilized for HIV treatment.
Reverse transcriptase inhibitors are also commonly utilized in resource-limited areas because of higher bioavailability, success rate, and affordability. Due to extensive research in the past, the portfolio for both NRTI and NNRTI has grown considerably. There also exists a significant generic production market for reverse transcriptase inhibitors which can drive small-scale pharmaceutical production.
Low genetic barriers for NRTI and NNRTI drugs along with high success rates in HIV and Hepatitis are stimulating further research and development in this segment of drugs. Other anti-retroviral drug classes will require substantial clinical research along with real-world efficacy studies before their large-scale adoption.
Major targeted diseases:
Covid-19 antiviral therapies single-handedly accounted for more than 17% of the market share in 2021. Additionally, major pharmaceutical companies got involved in new antiviral drug formulations and production against the pandemic which further induced growth in this sector. Collaborations between big corporations were also observed to cater to peak demands (e.g., Cipla and Gilead Sciences collaborated for the production of Remdesivir). Similar strategic and economical partnerships can enable this sector to overcome the financial burden and tackle capacity building in the coming years.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, HIV AIDS treatment was leading the global antiviral drugs market. Due to a large number of patients, the inability of immunological approaches and ineffective alternate therapies resulted in antiviral treatment growth against HIV. All these features along with the growing prevalence of HIV infections are still dominating the demand for antivirals against HIV. Upscaling of current production capabilities, along with the need for advanced treatment will enable faster overall growth of the antiviral drugs market in coming years. Furthermore, governmental awareness programs against HIV in specific and sexually transmitted diseases, in general, have ensured the acceptance and knowledge dispensation of antivirals within the common public.
The rise in the number of diseases like hepatitis, and herpes are seeing a corresponding development of drugs against them. Companies involved in the research and development of antivirals against Hepatitis already have a strong market presence and will see further progress due to augmentation. Similarly, better performance of antiviral therapies against herpes is expected to yield better clinical prescriptions of these medications by doctors. With growing product availability and better accessibility, the antiviral drugs market is set to experience exponential growth by the year 2030. Numerous other species of viruses with the potential development of pandemics such as paramyxoviruses, togaviruses, picornaviruses, and bunyaviruses are being targeted through direct and combination antivirals. We can expect new products to be launched against these viruses and many more in the next few years.
Governmental investments and regulatory relaxations:
The proactive role of national and international bodies in the research, development, and production of antiviral drugs is expected to rake in positive growth in the antiviral market across the world. Faster approval, standardization of clinical and medicinal trials, and general public awareness will enable ease of business for this sector. In the United States programs such as Ending HIV Epidemic (EHE) aim to eradicate HIV at the national level by the next decade. Such programs ensure a consistent research capital against HIV and other viral diseases. Similar programs for the development of antiviral drugs against HIV exist in countries like India, Australia, etc.
Leading antiviral drugs market by region:
The current dominance of antivirals is observed in North American regions, especially in the United States. With the largest share of pharmaceutical companies present within its borders, the United States is leading the development of the antivirals market. Introduction, approval, and effective medications against various diseases are being done in the country by many companies. Acceptance of such treatments at the lowest level is ensuring the highest market penetration of antivirals in American markets.
The performance of antiviral drugs for the Asia Pacific market is also positive and is expected to enhance through forecast period. The huge patient population for several viral diseases including HIV is the primary driving factor for their demand. Rising R&D investments by Asian pharmaceutical companies in the development of novel antivirals are expected to introduce new antiviral products in near future. Demand for alternative treatment against viral diseases apart from vaccines is also seen rising in the populace across Asia. These factors along with national policies and regulatory relaxations will sufficiently induce large-scale growth of the antiviral drugs market across countries like China, Japan, and India. Thus, increasing global demand for antiviral medicines along with better products will ensure the rise of this segment.
Key industry players in the antivirals market include AbbVie, Inc., Aurobindo Pharma Limited., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cipla, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline PLC., Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., etc.
By Drug Class
By Age Group
By Distribution Channel:
Antiviral drugs are chemicals or drugs that directly attack the disease-causing virus instead of relying on immunity-based approaches.
HIV and Covid-19 pandemic are recent drivers of this market. However, development in existing knowledge and technology in antiviral treatment has been influential in the long run.
Antivirals are a group of medications that can directly attack the virus instead of traditional immunogenic and anti-inflammatory treatments.
The global antivirals market is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 3.6% between 2023 to 2032.
The global antivirals market size was estimated to be US$ 47.7 billion in 2021.
The current dominance of antivirals is observed in North American regions, especially in the United States. With the largest share of pharmaceutical companies present within its borders, the United States is leading the development of the antivirals market.
AbbVie, Inc., Aurobindo Pharma Limited., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cipla, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline PLC., Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., etc. have been involved in development and progression of antiviral medication across the globe.
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