The key difference between interferon and peginterferon is that interferon is an antiviral protein that is not chemically modified by binding to polyetlylene glycol, while peginterferon is an antiviral protein that is chemically modified by binding to polyetlylene glycol.
Once a virus infects a host, it invades the cells of its host in order to survive and replicate. This helps the virus to make more copies and enable them to transmit the disease very efficiently. The human body and the immune system have different ways to clear a viral infection. Some of them are cytotoxic T cells, interferon, and antibodies. Cytotoxic T cells kill virally infected cells via toxic mediators. Interferons can prevent viral replication, and they also act as signalling molecules. There are different types of interferons, such as standard interferons and chemically made peginterferons. Interferon and peginterferon are two types of antiviral proteins that can prevent viral infections.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Interferon
3. What is Peginterferon
4. Similarities – Interferon and Peginterferon
5. Interferon vs Peginterferon in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Interferon vs Peginterferon
What is Interferon?
Interferon is an antiviral agent that modulates the functions of the immune system. It is not chemically modified by binding to polyetlylene glycol (PEG). It is made and released by host cells in response to viral infections. Typically, virus-infected cells can release interferons that cause nearby cells to enhance their antiviral defences. Interferon belongs to a large class of proteins known as cytokines. The function of these proteins is to communicate between cells to trigger protective defences. This will help to eradicate foreign pathogens.
Normally, interferons also have the ability to interfere with viral replication and protect cells from virus infections. Moreover, interferon fulfils various functions. It activates immune cells such as natural killer cells and macrophages. In addition, it increases host defences by up-regulating antigen presentation. Symptoms like fever and muscle pain can happen due to the production of interferons and other cytokines. There are more than twenty distinct interferon genes and proteins that have been identified in animals including humans.
What is Peginterferon?
Peginterferon is an antiviral protein that is chemically modified by binding to polyetlylene glycol. This pegylated interferon is usually called a peginterferon. It is a chemically modified interferon used for the treatment of hepatitis C and hepatitis B (rarely). By attaching the PEG to interferon, it will stay in the body (normally in the blood) much longer. Thus, PEG prolongs the half-life of peginterferon. Rather than injecting interferon three times a week, only one peginterferon injection is needed. This helps hepatitis patients immensely. There are two versions of peginterferon currently in the market. They are pegasys (peginterferon α-2a) and pegintron (peginterferon α-2b). Both these drugs have similar pharmacokinetics actions with only minor differences. Though peginterferon is an effective drug for viruses, it is an expensive treatment.
What are the Similarities Between Interferon and Peginterferon?
- Interferon and peginterferon are two types of antiviral proteins that can prevent viral infections.
- These molecules are proteins made up of amino acids.
- Both are signalling molecules.
- They can interfere with viral replication and protect cells.
- Both molecules are used as effective drugs against hepatitis B and C viruses.
What is the Difference Between Interferon and Peginterferon?
Interferon is an antiviral protein that is not chemically bound to polyetlylene glycol while peginterferon is an antiviral protein that is chemically modified by binding to polyetlylene glycol. So, this is the key difference between interferon and peginterferon. Furthermore, interferon is less effective against hepatitis B and C viruses than peginterferon. On the other hand, peginterferon is more effective against hepatitis B and C viruses than interferon.
The below infographic lists the differences between interferon and peginterferon in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Interferon vs Peginterferon
Interferon and peginterferon are two types of antiviral proteins. They can prevent viral replication and can also act as signalling molecules to enhance antiviral defences. Interferon is not chemically modified by binding to polyetlylene glycol, while peginterferon is chemically modified by binding to polyetlylene glycol. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between interferon and peginterferon.
1. “Interferon Gamma” By LeCornichon – Own work (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia