Also Known As: Peginterferon alfa-2a, Pegasys
Pegylated interferon alfa-2a (pegylated with a branched 40 kDa PEG chain; commercial name Pegasys) is an antiviral drug discovered at the pharmaceutical company F. Hoffmann-La Roche; it has a dual mode of action - both antiviral and on the immune system. The addition of polyethylene glycol to the interferon, through a process known as pegylation, enhances the half-life of the interferon when compared to its native form.
This drug is approved around the world for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (including patients with HIV co-infection, cirrhosis, 'normal' levels of ALT) and has recently been approved (in the EU, U.S., China and many other countries) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B.
Peginterferon alfa-2a is a long acting interferon. Interferons are proteins released in the body in response to viral infections. Interferons are important for fighting viruses in the body, for regulating reproduction of cells, and for regulating the immune system.