Tags: Cold/Flu | common cold | RNA | crack | genetic | code | Enigma

End of Common Cold Could Be in Sight

By    |   Thursday, 05 Feb 2015 01:08 PM


The end of the common cold could be in sight due to British researchers who have cracked the  genetic code that controls infections of a major group of viruses including the common cold and polio. The discovery, say experts, is the scientific equivalent of deciphering the German's Enigma machine in World War II, which helped the Allies win the war, and will stop viruses dead in their tracks.

The code, which researchers say was hidden in plain sight, is in the sequence of the ribonucleic acid (RNA) that is a component of the viral genome. In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists decoded its meaning and showed that by  jamming the code, the production of viruses was disrupted, thus preventing disease.

"We have understood for decades that the RNA carries the genetic messages that create viral proteins, but we didn’t know that, hidden within the stream of letters we use to denote the genetic information, is a second code governing virus assembly," says Dr. Roman Tuma of the University of Leeds. "It is like finding a secret message within an ordinary news report and then being able to crack the whole coding system behind it."

Although single-stranded RNA viruses are the simplest type of virus, they are still among the most potent and damaging of infectious pathogens, say the researchers. The rhinovirus, which causes the common cold, causes more infections each year than all other viruses combined, while newer types of viruses, such as chikungunya and tick-borne encephalitis are from the same family.

"Now, for this whole class of viruses, we have found the 'Enigma machine' — the coding system that was hiding these signals from us," says Professor Peter Stockley. "We have shown that not only can we read these messages but we can jam them and stop the virus' deployment."

The researchers hope that they will be able to develop a drug that will act on the signals sent by RNA, and allow a disease to be stopped before it even starts.

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The end of the common cold could be in sight due to British researchers who have cracked the genetic code that controls infections of a major group of viruses including the common cold and polio. The discovery, say experts, is the scientific equivalent of deciphering the...
common cold, RNA, crack, genetic, code, Enigma
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2015-08-05
Thursday, 05 Feb 2015 01:08 PM
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