Tags: Health Topics | common cold | rhinovirus | research | cure

A Cure for the Common Cold? Researchers Make Big Advance

A Cure for the Common Cold? Researchers Make Big Advance
(Ruslan Huzau/Dreamstime)

By    |   Wednesday, 16 May 2018 11:05 AM

British scientists found a possible breakthrough cure for the common cold.

In lab tests, they developed a compound that blocks viruses that cause colds and prevents them from taking control of human cells, HealthDay News reported.

The common cold generally is a nuisance for most people, but it can be more severe in patients with an impaired immune system. Patients with cancer, on medications to suppress immune response, or undergoing a bone marrow transplant may be especially vulnerable.

"The common cold is an inconvenience for most of us, but can cause serious complications in people with conditions like asthma and COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease]," lead researcher Ed Tate from Imperial College London's department of chemistry said.

"A drug like this could be extremely beneficial if given early in infection," he added. "We are working on making a version that could be inhaled, so that it gets to the lungs quickly."

A group of related viruses causes the common cold, and developing a vaccine is difficult because the virus has hundreds of variants that gain resistance to drugs quickly. Right now, there is no way to treat cold viruses directly.

Most remedies focus on easing the symptoms caused by the viruses like congestion, sore throat and fever, the study said.

Advanced Science

The researchers looked at ways to disrupt how viruses make copies of themselves and spread throughout the body.

All viruses that cause the common cold use a protein in human cells called N-myristoyltransferase to replicate. The viruses hijack this protein to build a protective shell for their DNA.

The scientists developed a molecule that targets this protein, possibly meaning an "irresistible" cure has been found.

Prior attempts to develop molecules that worked on human cells caused harmful side effects, but the new molecule appears to be safe for humans. More research is needed to confirm the findings.

"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 minimize the chance of toxic side effects," Tate said.

The findings were published May 14 in the journal Nature Chemistry. The researchers plan to test the new molecule on animals, and if that works, try it out on humans.

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British scientists found a possible breakthrough cure for the common cold.
common cold, rhinovirus, research, cure
Wednesday, 16 May 2018 11:05 AM
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