Selenium-containing anti-virals, usually in the form of nucleoside synthetase inhibitors where a lower heteroatom such as oxygen or sulfur has been substituted,1 include selenazofurin 14a. While bearing a broad spectrum of anti-viral activity, unfortunately selenazofurin is highly toxic at therapeutic concentrations making it an unsuitable therapeutic.109 Compounds such as 22 show in vitro activity against HIV at nM concentrations, below the level at which toxicity is observed.110
HN NH O
While the substitution of sulfur for selenium in traditional ^-lactam antibiotics has been met with limited success,111 113 several selenium-containing heterocyclic compounds, for example 1,3 selenazine 15, have shown strong inhibitory activity against several pathogenic strains including Staphylococcus aureus.1,114 It is interesting to note that the sulfur homologue in this case displayed little analogous activity, indicating the selenium atom was a key factor in their antibacterial properties. A similar result was observed in the anti-mycobacterial activity of seleno-azole derivatives 23 and 24 and the thio-azole analogues.115 Ebselen 1 has also been shown to possess anti-bacterial activity in vitro against S. aureus and it is thought that this activity comes about through the selenium atom interfering with the action of an essential thiol group.116
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