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Interferons (IFNs) were first discovered in 1957 by Isaacs and Lindenman as an activity which was inducible by heat killed influenza virus in chick chorioallantoic membranes and could potently inhibit infection of fresh chick chorioallantoic membranes with live virus. It is composed of a family of distinct, acid stabile proteins which are highly similar in amino acid sequence and structure.

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