Promising universal cure for the common cold targets human cell protein

GettyImages-177347179

GettyImages-177347179

Are we finally closer to stopping the common cold in its tracks? However, according to a new study, help may soon be at hand.

The common cold leads to around 27 million days off work each year in the UK.

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. This makes vaccination an impossibility and gives our immune system a challenging task. The viruses also evolve quickly to become resistant to anti-viral drugs.

Although dealing with a cold is not a huge issue for most people, there are good reasons to keep hunting for ways to fight it.

This article has been republished from materials provided by Imperial College London. Screening large libraries of compounds, they found two hits and were surprised to discover that they worked best together.

Scientists have managed to strip the common cold virus of its armour, opening up the possibility of a cure. The virus takes over NMT and constructs a protein shell (capsid) to protect the virus genome.

The virus is therefore blocked from being able to create a shell around itself so it is unable to replicate itself.


The trials found it also succeeded in killing multiple strains, including viruses related to polio and foot and mouth disease.

The new molecule, codenamed IMP-1088, targets a mechanism that all strains of the cold virus use, however, raising the possibility of a universally effective treatment.

The results of the first tests were published today in the journal Nature Chemistry.

The researchers have high hopes for the drug, which now goes under the codename of IMP-1088.

The Imperial College London researchers were working on making a form of the drug that could be inhaled, to reduce the chance of side effects.

"While this study was conducted entirely in vitro, i.e 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". The early tests also suggest that the drug causes no harm to host cells. This new drug, however, did not damage cultured human cells.

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