The global antiviral drugs market size was USD 36.98 Billion in 2021, and is expected to register a revenue CAGR of 3.4% during the forecast period. Rising incidence of influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and other viral respiratory infections, introduction of novel and advanced drug formulations, rise in public awareness, and surge in product innovations due to growing Research and Development (R&D) activities are expected to drive market revenue growth during the forecast period.
In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in viral infections and respiratory syncytial virus epidemics, which has been attributed to changing environmental conditions. Some other factors contribute to this rapid spread of viral infectious diseases, including increased human mobility, a rise in trade and tourism, and shifting geographic distributions of disease vectors. Antiviral medications reduce the ability of virus to spread via contamination through physical contact or aerosols. These drugs shorten the duration of flu symptoms and are recommended for treatment & future prevention of influenza-like symptoms and viral pneumonia. The medications may also help to minimize the likelihood of respiratory complications. Oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu), Baloxavir, and zanamivir (Relenza) are some of the common Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antiviral drugs recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to treat seasonal flu.
Governments of various countries across the globe are moving forward with emergency authorizations to speed up development of the COVID-19 antiviral drugs. Governments and funding agencies are also increasing their investments in development of new antiviral drug compounds to treat SARS-CoV-2 and other pandemic-threatening viruses. This is expected to increase demand for antiviral therapeutics, which in turn is expected to drive the market revenue growth. Antiviral Program for Pandemics (APP), started by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in collaboration with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) and other partners, seeks to produce safe and effective antiviral drugs, along with providing a long-term framework for multi-target directed drug discovery and establishment of a robust pipeline of antivirals against pandemic viruses. Antivirals, unlike vaccines, function as a second line of defense, causing a steady decline and ultimately inhibiting disease progression when infections arise. They are also vital when efficient potent vaccines for viral infections, such as Hepatitis C, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Herpes, and MERS-CoV are not accessible. Wide-ranging accessibility of highly efficient oral antivirals is increasing in demand, which is expected to drive the market revenue growth as they can be taken at home early in the course of infection, preventing virus transmission and overwhelming increase in hospitalizations.
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Driver: Introduction of new, improved, and innovative drug formulations is a major factor driving market revenue growth
Several pharmaceutical corporations are proactively pursuing R&D for development of effective drugs for viral infections with high pandemic potential or that require long-term therapy, with the support of alliances and collaboration with governments of various countries. Majority of antiviral research focuses on repurposing clinical-stage or authorized medications. Separate modes of administration, a combination of two or more different current medications for a new clinical indication and increasing or changing existing formulations are all examples of drug repositioning. This results in significant reductions in development time and expense, as well as increased revenue and reduced risk, which has augmented market revenue growth in recent years. The discovery of innovative drug repositioning applications has opened up a slew of new options for treatment of several viral respiratory illnesses, bridging the gap between treatment and disease elimination by one step. It also improves treatment quality, particularly for extensively mutated diseases, new disease outbreaks, or extremely resistant or orphan diseases. These are the main factors expected to drive market revenue growth during the forecast period. Drug-repurposing screenings could also quickly identify viable co-acting drug candidates, allowing for faster emergency use approvals & widespread clinical testing. This is prudent for increasing production and furthermore, to fulfill the constantly rising demand for antiviral medications and drugs.
Restraint: Limited options for broad-spectrum, cost-effective, and accessible antiviral drugs is a major factor restraining market revenue growth
Development of a safe, effective, and targeted antiviral from the ground up is time-consuming, which is projected to limit the market revenue growth. The prospect of future viral pandemics emphasizes need for broad-spectrum antiviral drugs such as direct-acting antivirals, which can be quickly deployed on a massive scale to prevent viral spread while efficient vaccines are under development. The majority of authorized antivirals in the market are currently host-directed antivirals, which provide a stronger barrier to development and selection of drug-resistant mutations, which act as a major factor that is expected to hamper market revenue growth. Need for high investments in R&D activities for introducing new and effective antiviral drugs can restrain market revenue growth during the forecast period. In addition, increasing precautionary measures against infections & rising awareness regarding vaccine availability is also expected to hinder the market revenue growth.
COVID-19 is a global public health emergency and its long-term impacts are expected to have an influence on antiviral market revenue growth during the forecast period. As a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak, demand for antiviral drugs has increased rapidly. Scientists from academia and industry are racing to develop antiviral drugs to address the COVID-19 epidemic and rising incidences of other viral respiratory infections and diseases. This emphasizes the need to identify novel antiviral treatment strategies, which are expected to contribute to the market revenue growth. Antiviral treatments face a number of problems and prospects in the face of emerging and re-emerging infectious illnesses. Several key pharmaceutical companies & researchers are trying to explore a large number of antiviral drug candidates as well as repurpose existing drugs in order to curb rising cases of novel SARS-CoV-2 infection. An increase in COVID-19 cases, as well as continued availability of a robust product pipeline of antiviral drugs, is expected to drive market revenue growth during the forecast period. Current approaches for developing antiviral therapies, such as repurposed drugs have gained attention as they investigate new routes for repurposing commercially approved or rejected pre-existing drugs to treat viral respiratory infections. Some of the repurposed antiviral therapeutics, which include remdesivir, favipiravir, dexamethasone, ivermectin, and baricitinib, have successfully received emergency approval from the U.S. FDA, European Medicines Agency (EMA) and other regulatory authorities from various countries for COVID-19 treatment. Successful anti-viral therapeutic options for viral infections such as COVID-19, HIV, and HCoV currently involve two or more drug combinations as they can postpone the establishment of drug resistance. These approaches can help resolve outbreaks in critical situations, in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Several partnerships and collaborations have been established between government and industry partners, including the FDA, to prioritize antiviral medications & drug candidates, enhance & improve clinical trials, and rapidly expand clinical research, all with the goal of developing therapies for the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the major areas of opportunity for major players to further expedite drug production, which is expected to increase demand for COVID-19 linked antiviral drugs over the forecast period.
Major pharmaceutical companies are coming up with new antiviral drug candidates to meet rising demand, which is expected to drive the market revenue growth. For instance, Pfizer PFE and Merck MRK, which market Paxlovid and molnupiravir, respectively, dominate the COVID-19 antiviral treatment market in the U.S. The FDA approved Paxlovid and molnupiravir as new oral antiviral drug options for non-hospitalized COVID-19 infection & authorized them for emergency use in December 2021.
Drug Type Outlook:
Based on drug type, global antiviral drugs market has been segmented into generic drugs and branded drugs. Generic drugs segment is being driven by rising demand for generic antiviral drugs in developing countries due to their cost-effectiveness. The market for generic antiviral drugs is fiercely competitive and commoditized. Additionally, generic versions of branded drugs boost treatment coverage as high-cost medications are less affordable to low and middle-income people with limited resources. Furthermore, an increasing number of generic antiviral medicine launches is expected to drive the segment revenue growth.
Based on application, global antiviral drugs market has been segmented into influenza, hepatitis A, B & C, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), herpes, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Human Coronavirus (HCoV), and others.
Increased prevalence of RSV viral activity and infection, combined with high treatment rates, availability of generic medications, and government attempts to improve the treatment rate, are factors expected to drive the segment revenue growth at a faster rate. Antiviral medication development has been prioritized globally due to the increased disease burden caused by RSV. High frequency of RSV in children necessitates provision & availability of highly effective & safe antiviral treatments for the prevention of RSV infection and its transmission among the communities.
HIV segment accounted for a significant revenue share in 2021, owing to an increase in number of cases of viral illnesses around the world. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, around an estimated 30.2 to 45.1 million people were reported to be living with HIV in 2020. Moreover, 68,000 people died of HIV by 2021, which shows that the increased number of HIV diagnoses is driving the need for a more specialized and tailored treatment regimen.
Mechanism of Action Outlook:
Based on the mechanism of action, global antiviral drugs market has been segmented into nucleoside analogs, protease inhibitors, neuraminidase inhibitors, and DNA polymerase inhibitors.
Nucleoside analogs segment is expected to register a rapid revenue growth during the forecast period. Nucleoside analogs are a group of antiviral drugs that are currently utilized to treat HIV infection, Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), and Varicella-zoster (VZV) infection. Nucleoside analogs act by terminating nascent DNA chain in the same way as naturally occurring nucleosides. These compounds are generally harmless and well-tolerated since they are employed in viral DNA replication but not by human polymerases. Nucleoside analogs are an important family of broad-spectrum antiviral medicines among the chemicals that directly target viruses. Remdesivir, Ribavirin, and T-705/Favipiravir are three nucleoside analogs that are distinguished as broad-spectrum RNA virus inhibitors.
Neuraminidase inhibitors segment is expected to register a steady revenue growth rate during the forecast period. Enzyme Neuraminidase (NA) is an appealing target for antiviral therapy due to its critical role in the pathogenicity of some respiratory viruses. Neuraminidase inhibitors such as zanamivir and oseltamivir are highly selective and efficient at inhibiting the replication of influenza A and B viruses, both in vitro and in vivo. As a result, they are frequently used in treatment of viral respiratory illnesses.
Distribution Channel Outlook:
Based on distribution channel, global antiviral drugs market has been segmented into hospital pharmacy services, online pharmacy services, and retail pharmacy services.
The online pharmacy services segment is expected to register a significant revenue CAGR during the forecast period due to introduction of online pharmacies which offer discounts and cost-effective options, along with their growing popularity among the general public. Revenue growth of this segment is further supported by increased access to online services & faster growth in number of Internet users. The majority of customers choose to shop online – due to the reduced prices compared to other retailers and traditional storefronts. This segment also provides lower transaction and product expenses, as well as quick delivery and a straightforward ordering process & experience. This factor is expected to drive revenue growth of the segment over the forecast period.
Market in North America accounted for the largest revenue share in the global market in 2021. This is owing to presence of major pharmaceutical companies in the U.S, rising prevalence of illnesses such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus and HIV in the country and increasing government funding for the launch of safe and effective antiviral medicines in North America. On 17 June 2021, the U.S. Government, announced USD 3 billion commitment under the American Rescue Plan, to speed up the discovery, development, and production of antiviral drugs. Antiviral Medication Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern, which will harness ingenuity of the biomedical research community and promote new antiviral drug discovery and development, will receive up to USD 1.2 billion under the plan. This factor is expected to drive revenue growth of the market in this region.
Market in Asia-Pacific is expected to register a steady revenue CAGR over the forecast period, owing to emergence of major players, better and advanced pharmaceutical industries in countries such as India, South Korea, and frequent outbreaks of viral respiratory infection and infectious diseases such as Ebola, MERS-CoV & SARS-CoV in the developing countries. Asia-Pacific antiviral drugs market is expected to have the majority market share during the forecast period, owing to factors such as increased Internet penetration and increasing expenditure on antiviral medications. Additionally, initiatives by government programs and public players to raise awareness for critical viral illnesses such as HIV, as well as launch of viable antiviral treatments in countries such as India and Japan, are expected to drive market revenue growth. For instance, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) created a clinical research fellowship program, with the help of funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that allows clinicians from India and the U.S. to carry out research studies and experiments in the field of immunology and infectious diseases in an exchange laboratory and other accredited research institutes.
Antiviral drugs market in Europe is expected to register a steady revenue growth rate during the forecast period, owing to successful health reimbursement plans for antiviral therapy, latest product launches, strong and effective government support, and major players working in the R&D of antiviral medication for HIV.
Competitive landscape of global antiviral drugs market is moderately consolidated with few key players operating on global and regional levels. Key players are engaged in platform development and strategic alliances to expand their respective portfolios and gain a robust footing in global market. Major companies in the global market report include Abbvie, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline plc., Gilead Sciences, Inc., Merck & Co., Novartis AG, F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd., Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., Pfizer Inc., and Dr. Reddy Laboratories Ltd.
- On 22 December 2021, the FDA approved Paxlovid and Molnupiravir as new oral antiviral drug options for non-hospitalized COVID-19 infection & for emergency use. Pfizer PFE and Merck MRK, which market Paxlovid and molnupiravir, respectively, dominate the COVID-19 antiviral treatment market in the U.S.
- On 14 March 2022, Open Philanthropy, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Novo Nordisk announced USD 90 million initial investment in the Pandemic Antiviral Discovery (PAD) project which will expedite antiviral drug discovery & development of medications for the prevention of future potential pandemics. These core partners are engaged in making PAD-supported product innovations & discoveries available to people in developing countries.
- On 15 March 2022, Scripps Research, which is a non-profit biomedical research and drug development organization, and AbbVie Inc. established a global collaboration to explore innovative, direct-acting antiviral therapies for COVID-19.
gments Covered in the Report
This report offers historical data and forecasts revenue growth at a global, regional, and country-level, and provides an analysis of market trends in each sub-segment from 2019 to 2030. For the purpose of this report, Reports and Data has segmented the global antiviral drugs market based on drug type, application, mechanism of action, distribution channel, and region:
Antiviral Drugs Market Report Scope
Segments covered By Drug Type Outlook , Application Outlook, Mechanism of Action Outlook , Distribution Channel Outlook , Regional Outlook
By Drug Type Outlook
By Application Outlook
Hepatitis A, B & C
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Human Coronaviruses (HCoV)
By Distribution Channel Outlook
DNA Polymerase Inhibitors
Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
By Mechanism of Action Outlook
Hospital Pharmacy Services
Online Pharmacy Services
Retail Pharmacy Services
Middle East & Africa
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