What is interferon - firm m

Interferons are proteins that are produced by the cells of the body when invasion of viruses and other alien agents. Interferon received its name from the English "Interfere WITH", which means "interfere with, obstruct."

Meet: Interferon!

Interferons have a wide range of action: antiviral (almost all DNA and RNA-containing viruses are sensitive to interferon), immunomodulatory, radio prototective, antitumor. It is very important that the viruses cannot adapt to the action of interferon.

Interferons are widely used to treat various diseases: hepatitis, cancer, herpes, influenza and ARVI and even in AIDS therapy. Interferons are used in bacterial infections, fungal lesions.

Typically, interferon preparations are administered by intravenous injections (for example, for the treatment of cancer, hepatitis). In the treatment of gynecological diseases, interferon preparations are used in the form of candles, which are inserted into the rectum or in the vagina. When herpes in the area of ​​lesions (on the face or genital organs), ointments based on interferon applies. With influenza and ORVI, it is advisable to local use of droplets in the nose based on interferon.

How does interferon work?

Interferon is a protein that begins to be produced by the body in response to the invasion of viruses. Interferon launches chemical reactions blocking the reproduction process of virus DNA and RNA. In addition, it affects neighboring cells and makes them immune to the causative agent of infection. Interferon seems to prevent them about the presence of danger. As a result, the reproduction of viruses in the affected cell stops, and their ingress into neighboring cells becomes impossible.

Views of Interferon

Interferon has two types. Leiccitarian (made of human blood) and recombinant (obtained by a genetic engineering method). Recombinant interferon preparations are safer, as they are produced without using donor blood. And applying them to infected diseases transmitted through blood (hepatitis, HIV, etc.) is impossible.

Interferon was opened in 1957. Since then, numerous studies have proven that interferon's biological activity is very high. For the synthesis of recombinant interferon, American scientists W. Gilbert, P. Berg F. Sanger were awarded the Nobel Chemistry Prize.

Why take interferon during ORVI?

In the blood of a healthy person, as a rule, the low level of interferon, but at the same time leukocytes (cells responsible for the synthesis of interferon alpha) are able to quickly synthesize the interferon in response to the invasion of the virus. But if the virus has already fallen into the body, the amount of interferon begins to decline, since the cells cannot produce it constantly. Therefore, when ORVI can help organize to fight the virus, taking interferon preparations (for example, drops in the nose flu).

What is interferon

Antibiotics help us to deal with bacteria. But with viruses, not everything is so simple. For a long time, no weapons existed against viral infections. But today it is not so. In addition to Umiphenovir and neuraminidase inhibitors, we can oppose viruses drug based on interferon. This accessible type of therapy has become particularly relevant when the outbreaks of the new virus disease COVID-19 fell into humanity. According to the latest research, the high doses of interferon show high efficiency in the treatment of this severe disease and other ORVI.

In China, the possibilities of interferonotherapy on 77 adults, patients with COVID-19 of the average severity were studied. The study showed that interferon-alpha-2b helps to reduce the concentrations of the virus in the upper respiratory tracts of the subjects, and also prevents the development of inflammation in the body.

Interferon is not one connection. Interferons include a whole group of cytokine proteins with similar properties. All of them are produced by human cells as protective agents when attacking viruses, bacteria, as well as in response to the effects of some low molecular weight substances.

Perhaps the most important property of interferonov is the ability to slow down the breeding of viruses, and a very elegant way. Interferon themselves are not harmful to viruses, but they force the cells in the infection area to produce a cascade of enzymes blocking the synthesis of viral proteins (Fig. 1). But this is not all. Interferons in response to a viral infection activates many genes responsible for protecting the body from enemy invasions, activate the immune system and pushing infected cells to self-destruction - apoptosis.

Figure 1. Interferons are attached to cells and encourage them to develop antiviral proteins-enzymes.

Illustration: Medportal

Three main types of interferons include:

  • interferon-alpha (produced by leukocytes),

  • interferon-beta (produced by fibroblasts),

  • Interferon-gamma (produced by cells of the immune system).

Interferon alpha shows high efficiency in the treatment of severe viral infections (Fig. 2) and those ORVI, with which we face every spring and autumn. One of the most famous - interferon-alpha-2b (IFN-ALPH-2B). It is used as a means of therapy against influenza and other diseases associated with damage to the organism by viruses.

What is ORVI?

The perpetrators of ARVI or colds are viruses. Most often it is influenza (viruses of types A and B), paragripp, adeno- and coronaviruses. The latest SARS-COV-2 virus is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. For ORVI characteristic:

  • The airborne transmission path (the virus travels through the air together with the microcapors released during sneezing or cough, and enters the body, settled on the nasophack mucosa),
  • The defeat of the respiratory organs (the infection develops in the upper respiratory tract, gradually capturing and lower),
  • Fast development and acute course (cold is usually accompanied by heat, lubrication in muscles, strong fatigue, sore throat, cough, mortgage and nose).

Most often, ARVI proceeds in a relatively light form and lasts long, but sometimes a cold ends with complications. If the symptoms do not subside longer than the week, the likelihood of bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), otitis and even meningitis increases the likelihood. Therefore, it is necessary to treat ORVI, not only removing the symptoms, but also supporting the body in the fight against the virus.

Preparations of recombinant interferon

Recombinant interferons are the most successful on the market, they are created using genomic technologies and produced by microbial synthesis. Obtaining interferon from modified E. coli costs much cheaper than the release of cytokines from human blood cells, and allows drugs in large quantities. At the same time, the structure of recombinant interferon is identical to natural proteins.

Recombinant interferons-alpha (in particular, IFN-Alpha-2B) are most often used in practice today. As a result of the treatment of ARVI interferon, the time of the disease is reduced, the manifestation of flu-like symptoms is reduced, the risk of developing complications after viral infections is significantly reduced.

How do interferon take?

The main ways of delivering interferon to the body as part of the medium against colds: intranasal and rectal. The intranasal method of administration is safe, but inffective if the tool is an aqueous solution. In this case, the absorption mucose, repelled water interferes in the nose of the absorption of interferon (more about it - in the article "Actual aspects of the IRVI and COVID-19 immunopylactic conditions").

An excellent alternative to the aqueous solutions for intranasal input serves gels. They longer are delayed on the surface of the mucous membrane and show high efficiency as a medical and prophylactic agent against ARVI and COVID-19, including children. The gel can be applied to the nasal mucosa and the mouth (by almonds) in order to prevent infection or during the disease - to reduce the rate of infection due to the activation of local immunity.

An interferon-based gel reduces the number of recurrence of respiratory viral diseases within a few months after the completion of the drug intake.

The most efficient way of delivery remains rectal - interferon database drugs are produced in the form of rectal suppositories (Fig. 2). This method does not cause undesirable side effects and guarantees the rapid absorption of the drug in the intestine (the medicine is directly absorbed into the blood, bypassing the liver), so that the interferon begins to work after 15-20 minutes after administration.

Figure 2. Dynamics of excretion of causative agent antigens from the ZEV and the nose of children, patients of ARVI, during treatment using IFN Alpha-2B.

Source: eLIBRARY.RU.

The joint use of rectal suppositories and gel for local application is characterized by increased efficiency in the treatment of ARVI and helps to reduce the severity of symptoms (Fig. 3).

How to increase interferon bioavailability?

The composition of some drugs based on interferon also includes all known antioxidants: vitamins C and E. Their role is to reduce the oxidative stress, combating free radicals that our cells destroy the day after day.

Tocopherol not only protects cell membranes from oxidative damage, but also serves as an excellent chemical conductor. Being fat soluble, it is easily overcoming trans-readman barriers, opening the way to other active substances, for example, Interferon. It is not surprising that interferon preparations containing tocopherol acetate exhibit increased efficacy in the treatment of viral infections.

Inductor interferon

Interferon inductors are substances that encourage the cell to produce their own interferon. They may have different nature, to be natural or synthetic origin. As part of the funds of this group, you can meet: Meglumin Acridonacetate, a copolymer of stateipol (vegetation pigment), Tiloron.

Interferon inductors are used for the prevention and treatment of ARVI along with recombinant interferon, but for a pronounced therapeutic effect, they need much longer, from 2 to 5 days. As a rule, drugs of this group are produced in the form of tablets and have age contraindications to use. Recommended also for the treatment of herpes.

What drugs contain interferon

Today there are many drugs in the market with the Feron root in the title. However, not all of them contain interferon. For example, in the "Anaferon" and "Ergoferon" there is no interferon, and there is also no significant amounts of any active substances, it is homeopathic. "Cycloferon", in turn, contains meglumin acryonacetate and refers to the interferon inductor group.

Recombinant interferon-alpha-2b contain antiviral drugs released without a recipe: "Viferon" (rectal suppositories or gel for local use, the composition also includes vitamins C and E), "GRUPPHEREON" (nasal spray), "Genferon" (rectal suppositories ).


Interferonotherapy is one of the most accessible methods of protection against viruses. Neuter-free drugs in the form of rectal suppositories, creams and gels have long proved their effectiveness in the fight against ARVI. The prevention and treatment of viral infections have gained a special relevance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and interferon-alpha drugs are likely to be of great importance in defense against the new infection of the most vulnerable groups of the population: newborn, pregnant women, children under 5 years old and old people.


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  2. Malinovskaya V.V., Korzhov I.V., Mosyagin I.G. Actual aspects of ARVI and influenza antiviral therapy in military groups // Sea medicine. 2020. T. 6, No. 1. P. 15-00, http://dx.doi.org/10.22328/2413-5747-2019-5-4-15-23.

  3. McKenzie C. Ferguson and All. Interferons AS Therapeutic Agents In Infectious Diseases // Pharmacy Faculty Research, Scholarship, And Creative Activity. -2011

FAN-CHING LIN AND HOWARD A. YOUNG. Interferons: Success In Anti-Viral Immunotherapy // Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2014 AUG; 25 (4): 369-376. DOI: 10.1016 / j.cytogfr.2014.07.015

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