, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 23–31 | Cite as

Use of recombinant interferon-α in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-infected individuals

  • J. Rivero
  • M. Limonta
  • A. Aguilera
  • M. Fraga
  • P. López Saura

Rationale and objective

Interferon alpha (IFN-α) has anti-retroviral activity and is a possible HIV infection-limiting factor. The aim of this work is to prevent or delay disease progression in asymptomatic Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) carriers.

Design and interventions

Recombinant IFN alpha-2b (3×106 IU 3 times weekly) was compared. to no treatment (control) in a randomized trial. Endpoints were: (i) appearance of any CDC group IV symptoms and (ii) disease progression (which excluded shifts to group IVC2 or reversible IVA, or IVB). The trial lasted from October 1987 to February 1992.


The trial was performed at the “Santiago de las Vegas” sanatorium, a specialized institution for the care of HIV-infected and AIDS patients.


Subjects were anti-HIV-1 seropositive, Western blot-confirmed, asymptomatic (CDC group II), or with generalized lymphadenopathies (CDC group III). The groups had 79 (control) and 71 (IFN) patients.

Main results

Long-term IFN-α treatments significantly reduced the proportion of patients who shifted to any group IV (control: 46/79; IFN: 14/71;p<0.001) or developed AIDS (control: 27/79; IFN: 12/71;p<0.05). IFN also delayed progression to AIDS (95% confidence interval for 0.5 probability of progression) from 67–83 to 116–180 months after infection. The IFN group had significantly less opportunistic infections and non-infectious complications. CD4 cell count and hemoglobin decreased in the control but not in the IFN group. Fewer IFN-treated patients developed positive serum HIV antigen detection.


IFN alpha treatment during the early stages of infection seems to be beneficial to the patients.

Key words

Interferon alpha AIDS HIV infection HIV carriers 



confidence interval


Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome


Human Immunodeficiency Virus




Center for Disease Control (USA)


standard deviation


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Rivero
    • 1
  • M. Limonta
    • 2
  • A. Aguilera
    • 2
  • M. Fraga
    • 1
  • P. López Saura
    • 3
  1. 1.Santiago de las Vegas SanatoriumHavanaCuba
  2. 2.The Center for Genetic Engineering and BiotechnologyHavanaCuba
  3. 3.Center for Biological ResearchHavanaCuba

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