IFN-beta-a Candidate of Antiviral Drug for SARS-CoV-2

The person-to-person spread SARS-CoV-2 infection is breaking out in China. As a senior biotech company in antiviral drug discovery, Creative Biolabs now does the best to provide fast and comprehensive antiviral drug discovery for SARS-CoV-2, aiming to develop effective drugs for the treatment of epidemic infection as soon as possible.

Current Application of IFN-beta (IFN-β)

IFN-β is a kind of type I interferon produced by fibroblast and plasmacytoid dendritic cells in mammals. Similar to IFN-alpha (IFN-α) (another member of the type I interferon), IFN-β also exhibits great antiviral activity but also anti-proliferative and immune-regulation effects. Currently, IFN-β has been widely applied for clinical treatment as a therapeutic immune-modulatory agent.

IFN-β is the preferred therapy for the management of multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Recombinant IFN-β1a and IFN-β1b are two therapeutic forms that have been demonstrated to be efficient on long-term relapsing-remitting of MS. In detail, the recombinant IFN-β1a is a glycoprotein produced in Chinese hamster ovary cells with the same amino acid sequence as natural IFN-β, and IFN-β1a shows a higher antiviral potency than IFN-β1b. While, IFN-β1b is an un-glycosylated form that produced in a bacterial expression system, which was approved in 2000 for its notably therapeutic effect on MS.

IFN-β- a Candidate of Antiviral Drug for SARS-CoV-2

Upon the virus invades, macrophages and endothelial cells immediately produce and release various cytokines, especially IFN-α and IFN-β, to defend the host from the viral infection before the initiation of the acquired immunity. Similar to IFN-α, IFN-β binds to the corresponding type I IFN receptor and subsequently activates downstream signaling pathways, such as Janus kinase (JAK)-signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathway, by tyrosine phosphorylation. The signal transduction initiation further stimulates transcription and activation of multiple genes, resulting in immunocytes (including dendritic cells, T cells, natural killer cells) activation and chemokine expression. Ultimately, the IFN-β exerts immune effects through multiple pathways.

Representation of multimodal regulation by the IRFs in the IFN-α/β system. Fig.1 Representation of multimodal regulation by the IRFs in the IFN-α/β system. (Taniguchi, 2002)

Therefore, in addition to being the first-line therapy for MC, the application of IFN-β for the treatment of viral infection also has been extensively investigated.

  • IFN-β can serve as an alternative therapeutic solution or combination therapy for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Compared with IFN-α, HCV therapy by IFN-β has a relatively lower incidence of adverse reactions.
  • The recombinant human IFN-β1a has been confirmed to effectively inhibit the replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus, which is a coronavirus sharing about 89.1% nucleotide identity with SARS-CoV-2.

Based on the above evidences, IFN-β stands a good chance of being a candidate for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infections, especially in the case of a continuously growing number of infections and a lack of effective treatment.

Antiviral Drug Discovery Services for SARS-CoV-2 at Creative Biolabs

Creative Biolabs is a world-leading service provider of antiviral drug discovery. We urgently adjusted our staff and scientific research resources to offer convenient and high-quality antiviral drug discovery services for SARS-CoV-2. Our professional technical scientists, comprehensive powerful platform, and abundant experience make us a perfect partner to help our clients with antiviral drug discovery for SARS-CoV-2.

Just feel free to contact us for more detailed and information. We are more than happy to share our experience and expertise with our valued customers in related researches.


  1. Taniguchi, T.; Takaoka, A. The interferon-alpha/beta system in antiviral responses: a multimodal machinery of gene regulation by the IRF family of transcription factors. Current Opinion in Immunology. 2002, 14(1): 111-116.
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