There is a powerful force in the world that has been protecting us from viruses and diseases for millions of years. It is the power of nature, specifically the power of our own immune system. Our immune system is designed to fight off foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses, and keep us healthy. One way in which our immune system defends us is through the production of a natural protein called interferon. Interferon is a type of cytokine, which is a signalling molecule that helps to regulate our immune response. When a virus enters our body, our immune system recognizes it as a threat and begins to mount a defence.
One of the first lines of defence is the production of interferon. Interferon is produced by cells in our body when they detect the presence of a virus. Once produced, interferon acts as a messenger, alerting neighbouring cells to the presence of the virus and triggering a cascade of immune responses.
These responses include the activation of immune cells, such as natural killer cells and T cells, which can recognize and destroy infected cells. Interferon also helps to inhibit the replication of the virus, limiting its spread throughout the body. The discovery of interferon and its role in the immune response was a major breakthrough in our understanding of how our body defends itself against viruses. It was first identified in the 1950s by researchers studying the response of cells to viral infection.
Since then, scientists have made significant progress in understanding the molecular mechanisms by which interferon works and its importance in our immune system. One of the most remarkable properties of interferon is its ability to target a wide range of viruses. Unlike vaccines or antiviral medications, which are often specific to a particular virus or strain, interferon has a broad-spectrum antiviral activity. It can inhibit the replication of many different viruses, including influenza, hepatitis C, and now, the novel coronavirus. The power of interferon as a natural defence against coronavirus has become particularly relevant in the face of the current COVID-19 pandemic.