interferon

noun
in·ter·fer·on | \ ˌin-tər-ˈfir-ˌän , 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

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, sandiegouniontribune.com, "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 As recently as 2012, scores of Missouri inmates were being treated with older hepatitis C drugs, including one called interferon that is notorious for its debilitating side effects. Alex Smith, Washington Post, "States Face Costly Conundrum: How To Treat Inmates With Hepatitis C," 23 Jan. 2018 Surprisingly, the six scientists quickly succeeded in producing their first batch of leukocyte interferon. Mimi Whitefield, miamiherald, "This Cuban industry began with 6 scientists, a tiny lab — and Fidel Castro’s obsession," 14 Dec. 2017 And so early efforts centered on making sure the gas tank was filled—priming the immune system with cytokines (such as the interleukins) or with immune-signaling proteins like interferon to rev up the tumor-fighting response. Clifton Leaf, Fortune, "The Secret to Cancer Treatment May Be In Our Guts," 3 Nov. 2017

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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15 Aug 2018

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The first known use of interferon was in 1957

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More Definitions for interferon

interferon

noun
in·ter·fer·on | \ ˌint-ə(r)-ˈfi(ə)r-ˌän \

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

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