Medicine

Say goodbye to sickies - scientists claim they've a cure for the cold

Say goodbye to sickies - scientists claim they've a cure for the cold

The lab studies suggest it could stop any cold virus in its tracks if it is administered early enough. But what if there were one way to block the ability of all cold viruses from replicating-thereby fending off the sneezing, sore throat and general misery that they cause?

The molecule was initially discovered when searching for a way to take on malaria parasites.

Like all viruses, the common cold virus enters the human body and then hijacks particular cells to duplicate itself.

A cure for the common cold may have been found - according to global researchers.

That compound, IMP-1088, targets N-myristoyltransferase (NMT), a protein in human cells which cold viruses use to construct a protein "shell", which protects the virus genome.

Viruses normally steal NMT from human cells and use it to create a protective shell around their genetic information, known as the capsid. The results of initial tests are published today in the journal Nature Chemistry.

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Researchers are now working on a drug that can be inhaled for people who have just started getting the sniffles. Additionally, the molecule also works against viruses related to the cold virus, such as polio and foot and mouth disease viruses.

Dr Peter Barlow of the British Society for Immunology said: "While this study was conducted entirely in vitro - using cells to model Rhinovirus infection in the laboratory - it shows great promise in terms of eventually developing a drug treatment to combat the effects of this virus in patients".

Professor Ed Tate, the lead researcher from Imperial College London, said: "A drug like this could be..." The scientists found they were able to block replication of several strains of the virus without human cells being affected. Of course, more research will be needed to confirm that the drug is safe for use.

While an uncomfortable nuisance for the vast majority of people, the common cold can be life-threatening for those living with serious illnesses and immune deficiencies.

Professor Tate said: "The way the drug works means that we would need to be sure it was being used against the cold virus, and not similar conditions with different causes, to minimise the chance of toxic side effects".


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