Helenine, a substance obtained from broth cultures of Penicillium funiculosum and known to exert a protective effect in vivo in experimental animals against several unrelated viruses, has been shown to elicit the formation in cell cultures and in intact mice of an inhibitor of viral plaque formation.

Because the biological and chemical characteristics of the viral inhibitor induced by helenine are similar to those of interferon, it is suggested that the antiviral effect of helenine may be mediated through the formation of interferon.

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