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Effects of human alpha, beta and gamma interferons on varicella zoster virus in vitro.

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Health Sciences Research Institute, Department of Medical Sciences, Nonthaburi, Thailand.


The antiviral effects of interferon (IFN) on varicella zoster virus (VZV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) in vitro were examined. The values for the 50% inhibitory dose (ID50) of IFN-alpha, beta and gamma determined by plaque reduction assay, were 0.813, 0.650 and 13.750 IU/ml, respectively, against VZV and 18.00, 10.38 and 115.0 IU/ml, respectively, against HSV. Thus IFN-alpha and beta were more effective than IFN-gamma against both VZV and HSV and VZV was more sensitive than HSV to the IFNs. Five mutants of VZV which were resistant to acyclovir (ACV), phosphonoacetic acid (PAA) or bromodeoxyuridine (BUDR) were also sensitive to IFN beta, their average ID50 being 1.31 IU/ml. Analysis of virus-specific proteins by the immunofluorescent technique with various antisera showed that IFN had a significant effect before early protein synthesis.

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