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An international group of scientists was assembled under the sponsorship of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the World Health Organization — US National Centre on Interferon to devise a system for the orderly nomenclature of interferons. The following is an abbreviated version of the unanimous report from this committee, the full text of which appears in , 10 July 1980. Scientists and editors of scientific journals should adopt this nomenclature, to avoid the proliferation of terms for the same substances and the indiscriminate naming of newly discovered factors.

The committee accepted the following definition for interferon: “To qualify as an interferon a factor must be a protein which exerts virus non-specific, antiviral activity at least in homologous cells through cellular metabolic processes involving synthesis of both RNA and protein.”


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