JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Interferon drug. Gloved hand and a glass vial of the antiviral drug interferon. Here, the crystal form of the drug is seen; it is made soluble when used as an injection. Interferons 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 multi- plication 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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