It is made from a cell line that initially came from hamster ovaries. They culture the cell line, and they don’t need hamsters anymore.

Avonex is interferon beta-1a, indentical to the interferon made in the human body naturally. It is not hamster interferon. What they do is expose the cells to human interferon genes, and the cells will start making human interferon. It is a lot more complicated than that, but that is the basic idea.

This is straight out of the labeling for Avonex: “AVONEX® (Interferon beta-1a) is a 166 amino acid glycoprotein with a predicted molecular weight of approximately 22,500 daltons. It is produced by recombinant DNA technology using genetically engineered Chinese Hamster Ovary cells into which the human interferon beta gene has been introduced. The amino acid sequence of AVONEX® is identical to that of natural human interferon beta.”

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