The cold - could it become less common?

16 May, 2018, 08:14 | Author: Hope Soto
  • The average person spends 2.5 years of their life suffering from cold

At last, an experimental drug has shown promise in beating common cold viruses, raising hopes of an effective treatment against rhinoviruses and other pathogens.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about the common cold. But researchers have been trying to find a cure for centuries simply because this irritating malady is so prevalent.

"The common cold is an inconvenience for most of us but can cause serious complications in people with conditions like asthma and COPD", explained lead researcher Ed Tate, a professor from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College. That makes it almost impossible to develop an immunity or to create a vaccine to protect against all strains.

The Imperial College team came up with the idea for IMP-1088 when they were looking for a way to target NMT in malaria parasites.

By contrast, the new molecule successfully blocked the several strains it was trialed against without damaging the human cells.

When a cold virus enters the body, it commandeers a human protein cell called N-myristoyltransferase (NMT).

All strains of cold virus need this human protein to make new copies of themselves.

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Users will have to take the drug early on in the cold infection, also the researchers are working on a version which can be inhaled.

Many of us spend a lot of money during our lives on cold remedies that don't really work - but a new drug could stop the virus in its tracks. They reported the discovery in the journal Nature Chemistry.

Caused by a family of viruses with hundreds of variants, it is almost impossible to treat, as no single vaccination exists against it, meaning people resort to treating the symptoms rather than the virus itself.

Although researchers say their work is promising, they believe a cure is still a long way off.

Previous studies have focused on human cells and not directly targeting the virus.

Speaking to The Guardian, study coauthor Roberto Solari of Imperial emphasizes that much more research is needed for this to become a reality. Blocking this enzyme with a small-molecule inhibitor, the team found, completely prevented the protein coat from being formed, and halted viral replication without killing cells.

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