in·​ter·​fer·​on | \ ˌin-tər-ˈfir-ˌän How to pronounce interferon (audio) , ˌin-tə-\

Definition of interferon

: any of a group of heat-stable soluble basic antiviral glycoprotein cytokines of low molecular weight that are produced by cells exposed usually to the action of a virus, sometimes to the action of another intracellular parasite (such as a bacterium), or experimentally to the action of some chemicals

Examples of interferon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In addition, Ebola can disrupt cells' ability to make interferon—an anti-viral signaling molecule—and can even cause some immune cells to self-destruct. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "What is the Ebola virus, and can it be stopped?," 9 Apr. 2019 The cheater does not have the ability to suppress its host’s defenses; in fact, its presence stimulates the release of interferons. Quanta Magazine, "Viruses Have a Secret, Altruistic Social Life," 15 Apr. 2019 Researchers studying the immune system discovered the molecules interferon and interleukin-2; each was initially hailed as a promising treatment based on their dramatic effects in shrinking tumors in rodents. Jerome Groopman, The New York Review of Books, "The Body Strikes Back," 21 Mar. 2019 Once a cell has become infected by a virus, the interferons alert the surrounding cells. Lucy Cooke, ajc, "US military is interested in bats as possible defenders against bioweapons," 3 July 2018 In the case of severe flu, Casanova's team has identified two gene defects, one that limits the production of virus-fighting interferons and one not yet published. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "Extreme Flu? Weird Encephalitis? It May Be Your Genes," 13 July 2018 Insulin, interferon and most antibiotics are common examples of meds that require refrigeration. Paul Sisson,, "Emergency medication management tips," 8 July 2018 Tests in mice and ferrets — which catch flu in very much the same way that people do — showed the interferons could not only kill this particular flu virus easily; the body also produced a lot of them in response to the vaccine. Maggie Fox, NBC News, "Researchers take step towards a better flu vaccine," 18 Jan. 2018 A year later, the company had figured out how to clone interferon, a signaling protein that could treat a form of leukemia. Damian Garde, STAT, "As Biogen turns 40, biotech worries the glory days may be over," 2 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'interferon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of interferon

1957, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for interferon

interfere + -on entry 2

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Last Updated

4 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for interferon

The first known use of interferon was in 1957

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in·​ter·​fer·​on | \ ˌint-ə(r)-ˈfi(ə)r-ˌän How to pronounce interferon (audio) \

Medical Definition of interferon

: any of a group of heat-stable soluble basic antiviral glycoproteins of low molecular weight that are produced usually by cells exposed to the action of a virus, sometimes to the action of another intracellular parasite (as a bacterium), or experimentally to the action of some chemicals, and that include some used medically as antiviral or antineoplastic agents — see alpha interferon, beta interferon, gamma interferon

More from Merriam-Webster on interferon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with interferon Encyclopedia article about interferon

Comments on interferon

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a usually brief trip or an expedition

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