Smart words

Interferon

A common name for a number of proteins with similar properties that are produced by the body cells in response to invasion of the virus. Thanks to interferons, the cells become unsusceptible to a virus.

Interferons (IFN) are divided into 3 types: type 1 IFNs, type 2 IFNs and type 3 IFNs.

The first generation interferons are IFN -α, IFN -β, IFN -σ, IFN -ε, IFN -κ, IFN -τ, IFN –ω and IFN -zeta. Unlike type 1 interferons, there is only one type 2 interferon – interferon-γ (IFN -γ). Type 3 interferons have been discovered recently – λ-interferons (IFN -λ1, IFN -λ2 и IFN -λ3, also known as interleukin-29 (IL-29), IL-28А и IL-28В, respectively). Type 2 and type 3 interferons are known as the next generation interferons.

As it is well known, our immunity has several levels of defense. The first level is based on the release of type 1 interferons (α and β). Type 1 interferons have an apparent antiviral effect and hamper replication of viral cells, thus ensuring protection of the body on the early stages of the disease.

In severe cases of flu when the immunity is being suppressed, it becomes evident that the “breakthrough” of one level of immunity can be compensated by the activation of another.

The second level of defense is related to the release of interferon-γ (type 2 interferon).

Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) is only synthesized by cells of the immune system. It is also called the immune interferon. Unlike type 1 interferons (α and β), type 2 interferon has a combined effect: broad-spectrum antiviral effect and a powerful immunomodulatory effect (immunostimulatory, and providing nonspecific protection) and influences the production of antibodies and cellular immune response. This type of interferons plays an important role in preventing the infection development.

What is more, IFN-γ activates the adaptive (acquired) immunity, which sufficiently guarantees protection against secondary infection.

Adenoviruses

A large group of viruses (more than 30 types of virus A have been described), that induce a number of diseases: acute respiratory catarrh, conjunctivitis, enterocolitis, atypical pneumonias, etc. They can be isolated from the cells of human adenoids and tonsils and from the gastro-intestinal tract, where they often remain in latent condition.

h3>Chromatography

A method of separating and analysis of chemical mixtures, as well as studying physical and chemical properties of substances. It is based on separating the substances between two phases – still (solid phase or a liquid bound with an inert carrier) and mobile (gas or liquid phase).

Constitutiveness

The defining traits of something. Something that is fundamental, the essence of something.

Cytokines

A group of polypeptide mediators involved in creation and regulation of defensive responses of the body.

Denaturation

A loss of natural functions.

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid is a macromolecule (one of the three main ones, the other are RNA and proteins) that ensure storage, hereditary transfer and implementation of the genetic program of living organisms. DNA contains information about the structure of different types of RNA and proteins.

Fibroblast

Cells of the connective tissue of the body.

Herpesviruses

A big family of DNA viruses that induce diseases not only in humans and other mammals, but in birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish as well. Most of the planet’s population is infected with herpesviruses. A distinctive trait of herpesviruses is that they can stay latent inside cells for infinite period without any clinical manifestations.

Human respiratory syncytial virus

A virus that induces infections of the respiratory tract. Human respiratory syncytial virus is the main cause of the infections of the lower respiratory tract in infants and children. There is no vaccine against this virus. The treatment is limited to supportive care; it is feasible to use an oxygen supply mask.

Hyperthermia

Overheating, accumulation of excess heat in the human or animal body due to an increase in the body temperature induced by extrinsic factors that impede the emission of heat into the environment or increase the input of heat from it.

Immunity

A body resistance to infections and invasions of foreign organisms (including pathogens), as well as the effects of foreign substances with antigen properties.

Intermediate

A transitional substance with a short lifespan, which is formed during a chemical reaction and is then reacting into resultants.

Latency

An ability of objects or processes to exist in concealed state, without showing themselves in any way.

Macrophages

A type of white blood cells that take part in fighting infections.

Neutrophils (Microphages)

A type of leukocytes. Neutrophils are capable of phagocytosis – they can digest small foreign particles, including bacteria, and dissolve (lyse) dead tissues.

Pandemic

An epidemic that is characterized by the spread of infectious disease across a whole country, a territory of bordering countries, and sometimes – many different countries.

Persisting disease

A chronic, long-lasting disease.

Phagocytosis

A process during which special blood and tissue cells (phagocytes) trap and digest particulates.

Producers

Organisms that can synthesize organic substances from non-organic ones. These are, generally, green plants (that synthesize organic substances from non-organic ones via photosynthesis).

Proteins

Proteins (polypeptides) are macromolecular organic substances, which consist of alpha-amino acids, chained together by peptide bonds.

Resistance

Resistance (tolerance, insusceptibility) of the organism to the effects of different factors – infections, poisons, contamination, parasites.

Recombination

A process of exchanging genetic material via breaking and rejoining different molecules.

Renaturation

The inverse process of denaturation, when proteins re-form their natural structure.

Rhinoviruses

A group of small RNA viruses of the Picornaviridae family. They replicate in the cells of the nasal pharynx mucosa inducing inflammatory diseases of the upper respiratory tract.

Ribosomes

Intercellular particles that are responsible for protein biosynthesis. They are present in the cells of all living organisms: bacteria, plants and animals, each cell contains thousands or tens of thousands ribosomes.

RNA

Ribonucleic acid is one of the three main macromolecules (the other are DNA and proteins) that are present in the cells of all living organisms.

Strain

A pure culture of viruses, bacteria, other microorganisms or a culture of cells isolated at a particular time in a particular place.

Thermolability

A loss of any properties due to temperature, which is different from normal (both higher and lower).

Vaccine

A medical or veterinarian drug used to create immunity to infectious diseases. A vaccine is made of weakened or dead microorganisms, their waste products, or their antigens (isolated by genetic engineering or chemical methods).

Vesicular

Consisting of bubbles or relating to a bubble.

Viremia

A medical condition when viruses enter the circulation and spread over the whole body.

Virus

From Latin “virus” – “poison” is a noncellular infectious agent, which can replicate only inside living cells. Viruses affect all kinds of living organisms, from plants and animals to bacteria and archaea (viruses that affect bacteria are usually called bacteriophages). There have even been discovered viruses that affect other viruses (satellite viruses).