JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Interferon drug. Gloved hands use a syringe to draw up the antiviral drug interferon from a glass vial. Here, a liquid form of interferon is used for injection, made soluble from crystals. Inter- ferons are a family of glycoproteins produced by many types of human cells in response to viral infection and other stimuli. As a drug it inhibits viral multiplication and it increases the activity of killer T-lymphocyte white blood cells in the immune system. Interferon drugs are thus of great importance in the fight against hepatitis, some cancers such as leukaemia, and viral infections in people with lowered immunity (including AIDS). The drug is usually made by genetic engineering.
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