Interferons (IFN-α2a and IFN-α2b) are compounds that are produced via recombinant DNA technologies in manipulated E. colistrains. Interferons "mark" infected cells by binding to receptors on the cell membrane of virus-infected cells. This binding signals the cell to initiate the synthesis of antiviral proteins that work via complex actions inside the cell to prevent viral replication and activate the immune system.
Pegylated interferons are more effective in the treatment of mainly hepatitis C. Pegylated IFN-α2a and pegylated IFN-α2b are interferons with a linked polyethylene glycol group, which contributes to a higher molecular weight. This reduces the renal clearance of the pegylated interferons, resulting in a a longer half-life and more stable serum concentrations.
The interferons are not without adverse effects. Frequently patients will experience fever, chills, headaches, and myalgias with the initiation of therapy. Therefore, paracetamol is often co-administered with interferon-α treatment.
The proportion of patients that will respond to interferon therapy seems to depend on which hepatitis infection is present (B, C, or D). The following graphs show the types of responses to interferon-α therapy seen in hepatitis C infected patients.
Which of the following is true regarding treatment with interferon therapy?
Extra info: Interferons are recombinant products, must be administered intraveneously, and are associated with significant adverse events including the stimulation of autoimmune diseases.