IFN-alpha-a Candidate for SARS-CoV-2 Antiviral Drug

IFN-alpha is a cytokine with extensive antiviral effects and multiple biological activities, which serves as a candidate for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Aiming to human health improvement, Creative Biolabs provides comprehensive recombinant IFN-alpha products and drug development services for SARS-CoV-2.

Background of IFN-alpha

Interferons (IFNs) are a family of signaling glycol-proteins secreted by host cells which are named for the ability to interfere with viral replication. As a kind of cytokine, IFNs play pivotal roles in the natural immunity of virus infection, which not only effectively prevent virus replication in cells but also induce the activation of the acquired immune response. IFN-alpha is a subtype of type I IFN produced by infected leukocytes exhibiting a diversity of biological activities, such as antiviral activity, immune-regulation, cell proliferation inhibition, anti-tumor effects, etc.

Currently, several exogenous IFN-alphas obtained by recombinant DNA technology as well as endogenous IFN-alpha induced by drugs have been demonstrated to be effective in anti-viral activity and immune response improvement. Among these therapeutic IFN-alphas, IFN-α2 has already achieved inspiring clinical effect in the treatment of acute and chronic hepatitis C virus. And numbers of recombinant IFN-αs and fusion proteins of IFN-α are developed and in the clinical evaluation.

Therapeutic Potential of IFN-α on SARS-CoV-2

Once IFN-α binds to the receptor (IFN-α/β-receptor, IFNAR), downstream signaling pathways (JAK and STAT signaling pathway) are activated, leading to the expression of multiple genes. One of the gene products is antiviral protein, which has a broad-spectrum antiviral effect. These antiviral proteins induced by IFN-α show a wide range of inhibitory effects on membrane penetration, uncoating, the synthesis of mRNA, protein translation, assembly and release of the virus. Meanwhile, the immunomodulation actions of IFN-αcan also further enhance its antiviral activity.

Functions of selected IFN-inducible proteins. Fig.1 Functions of selected IFN-inducible proteins. (Samuel, 2001)

IFN-alphas exhibit great potential in the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection, since that it can not only interfere with virus replication of infected cells before acquired immunity, but also activate multiple pathways to fight against SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, it has been investigated that IFN-alpha showed an inhibitory effect on other coronaviruses, such as neurotropic coronavirus and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-related coronavirus. In light of these properties, it is a very definite possibility that IFN-alpha is a candidate for SARS-CoV-2 antiviral drug discovery.

Work with us for Your SARS-CoV-2 Antiviral Drug Discovery!

A new infection caused by SARS-CoV-2 has suddenly erupted in China in December 2019. The number of infections continues to rise till the end of January 2020, which has attracted great attention all over the world. Over a decade of accumulation, Creative Biolabs has strived to be the leader of the industry, especially in immunology and antiviral drug development. For this sudden SARS-CoV-2 infection, we quickly adjusted our scientific power to establish a special platform for SARS-CoV-2 antiviral drug discovery.


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All you need to do is just contact us and tell us what you are confused about or interested in. Our professional teams and specialized scientists are able to provide the best and comprehensive services at all times.


  1. Samuel, C.E. Antiviral Actions of Interferons. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 2001, 14(4): 778-809.
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