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September 1971


Arch Intern Med. 1971;128(3):475-476. doi:10.1001/archinte.1971.00310210151028

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Interferons are proteins of cellular origin capable of conferring resistance against viral invasion. The resistance is nonspecific in contrast to that provided by antibody, which is virus-specific. Because of the broad spectrum antiviral effect, interferon has been considered, for a number of years, a prime prospect in viral chemotherapy. With this in mind, extensive search for potent interferon inducers has been carried out by a number of investigators. Indeed, many have been discovered and found to be effective in curing experimental viral diseases.

What happens when these potent inducers are used to treat human viral diseases? Very little. It is a great disappointment.

Why? It has been thought that interferons, not antibodies, are responsible for recovery from viral diseases. Therefore, by inducing interferon production, one could hasten the recovery. It turns out that this concept is debatable. Furthermore, potent inducers which are effective in treating experimental viral infections are also

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