March 25, 2019

Cure for the common cold? Incredible molecule shows real promise

15 May 2018, 09:25 | Randall Craig

Common cold cure on horizon after new drug successfully kills multiple strains of the virus


Remedies have instead focused on treating symptoms, such as a sore throat, but researchers at Imperial College London ignored the disease itself and instead targeted the human protein that is "hijacked" by all strains of the virus.

The Imperial College researchers reported that IMP-1088 blocked the common cold without affecting healthy cells.

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 is why there is no drug to fight against the virus. Even if one does work, the virus can quickly evolve to gain resistance to it. While IMP-1088 did not cause any harm to human cells in the laboratory, the researchers cautioned trials and further research were required to test its safety. The virus takes over NMT and constructs a protein shell (capsid) to protect the virus genome. The scientists found they were able to block replication of several strains of the virus without human cells being affected.

Additionally, the molecule also works against viruses related to the cold virus, such as polio and foot-and-mouth disease. Without this protein shield, a virus's genetic material is exposed and vulnerable.

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. But some of the side effects were toxic.

Dr Peter Barlow, from Edinburgh Napier University and the British Society for Immunology, said: "There are now no drugs or vaccines for rhinovirus that have been licensed for use in humans".

'This could be really helpful for people with health conditions like asthma, who can get quite ill when they catch a cold'.

"There are now no drugs or vaccines for Rhinovirus that have been licensed for use in humans..." If successful, a new drug could be available within seven years.

So, with a few more years of research and clinical trials, it could soon be so long to the sniffles.

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