Antiviral Strategies

Volume 189 of the series Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology pp 203-241

Interferons and Their Use in Persistent Viral Infections

  • Stéphane ChevaliezAffiliated withDepartment of Virology, Hôpital Henri Mondor
  • , Jean-Michel PawlotskyAffiliated withDepartment of Virology, Hôpital Henri Mondor Email author 

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In 2007, the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of the discovery of interferon (IFN) by Isaacs and Lindenmann. Subsequently, the IFN-α gene was cloned, fully sequenced and IFN-α was produced in recombinant form. Recombinant IFN-α is now used as the basis for treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection and can also be used to treat certain forms of chronic hepatitis B virus infections. IFNs have also been used in other viral infections, although with less success. The antiviral mechanisms of IFNs are reviewed in this chapter as well as the utility of IFNs in the treatment of persistent viral infections.