Interferon is a protein extracted from cells which have been found to prevent the proliferation and multiplication of viruses. They are non specific in their action unlike antibodies and thus effective against a wide range of viruses. Interferons are effective against the influenza virus and the polio virus and they are generally more effective in the same species of animals in which it is manufactured.
It has been found that interferons confer protection against the Vaccinia virus on chick embryos and rabbit. The explanation here is that whenever a virus invades ac cell, it alerts other cells of the presence on the virus and they are therefore armed against the invader, consequently conferring protection on the organism.
Interferon is non toxic, does not stimulate antibody production and lacks specificity. These features or qualities make interferon a novel protein in conferring immunity to a wide range of diseases, even to man. However, the shortcomings of interferon is that it would need to be produced in very large quantities and must come from human cells(to be used on humans) or from closely related species such as the chimpanzee.
Formation of Antibodies
Antibodies are formed as a result of the entry of micro-organisms that produce antigens(protein macromolecules) which in turn cause the lymphocytes(white blood cells) to produce corresponding antibodies. Antibodies combine in some way to neutralize the effects of antigens and in the process cause the destruction or death of the invading organism. They can achieve this by adhering to the surface of the micro–organisms making them to clump together or agglutinate, or cause them to disintegrate(lysis) and the remains of the lyzed organism can then be ingested by phagocytes.
There are other types of antibodies such as opsonins which are usually absorbed onto the surface of micro-organisms making them easier to be engulfed by phagocytes. There is also the antitoxins which can neutralize toxins and the precipatins which cause the aggregation of antigen molecules which ultimately leads to the formation of a precipitate.