Interferon is protein or glycoprotein which are secreted by the eukaryotic cells in response to viral infection, some types of cancer, and also to some of other biological inducers. Therefore interferons can also be used in detecting particular condition or disease such as viral infection, hepatic disease, various cancers and many other conditions in human. Interferon belongs to cytokine family with 145-166 amino acid length.

Interferon are produced by macrophages, lymphocytes of cells which are infected by virus, then these protein molecules diffuse to adjacent cells and they produce some kind of protein which inhibits viral replication in adjacent cells. Thus stops the spreading of disease throughout the body. There are three types of interferon alpha, beta and gamma.

Different Interferon Drugs:

Interferons are produced in large quantities using recombinant DNA technology and they are used as drugs to treat various types of diseases. Many of these recombinant interferons are given subcuteniously or intramascularly to treat diseases.

Recombinant form of Alpha Interferon:

1. Alpha-2a drug name is known as Roferon
2. Alpha-2b drug name known as Intron A
3. Alpha-n1 drug name is known as Wellferon
4. Alpha-n3 drug name is known as Alferon N
5. Alpha-con 1 drug name is known as Infergen

Recombinant form of Beta Interferon:

1. Beta-1a drug name is known as Avonex
2. Beta-1b drug name is known as Betaseron

Recombinant form of Gamma Interferon:

1. Gamma-1b drug name is known as Acimmune

Alpha Interferon -2a or Roferon:

Alpha Interferon -2a or Roferon is 165 amino acid long and is produced in large quantity using recombinant DNA technology. It is a non-glycosylated protein. This non-glycosylated form of interferon showed many drawbacks such as short half life, short terminal elimination of half life, showed large volume of distribution, and also large renal clearance.

All these setbacks are solved by pegylating alpha-2a interferon that is named as Pegasys.

Pegylated Interferon-2a or Pegasys:

Pegasys or pegylated interferon-2a is produced in large quantity using recombinant DNA technology and used as therapeutic agent. First developed by scientists Davis, Abduchovski and colleagues during 1970s. To improve the pharmacokinetics of this interferon pegylation is done using PEG or poly ethylene glycol. Addition of PEG improved the pharmacokinetics of interferon by improving its half life. Decreased clearance of interferon thus improved the biological activity of pegylated interferon-2a or Pegasys.

Interferon Beta-2a or Avonex:

Interferon beta-2a is produced using recombinant DNA technology in mammalian cells. These mammalian cells are integrated with human beta interferon gene. Clinical trial of this drug showed that it slowed the multiple sclerosis progression in patients and also showed additional activity such as it slowed down and prevented the development of multiple sclerosis related to the brain. Treating patient with multiple sclerosis with Avonex or Interferon beta-2a increased the concentration of interleukin 10 in the cerebrospinal fluid. This treatment also showed some milder side effects such as muscle pain, chills and fever like symptoms.


Interferons have different biological activities.Research and development in the feild of interferon is required to fully inderstand the exact mechanism of action of these in the body of a human. Interferons can be used to treat many types of diseases and also can be used for early detection of diseases. These interferons can be combined with other immunomodulators to increase or to optimise their biological activity.

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