A long-awaited cure for the common cold may now be in sight, however, after scientists successfully stripped the virus of its armour. To top it all, the viruses develop quickly which is why they tend to gain resistance to any drugs rapidly.
The results of the first tests were published today in the journal Nature Chemistry.
It is due to these reasons that the best way to treat the common cold is by maintaining a good hygiene practice to avoid spreading of the virus and to manage the runny nose and scratchy or sore throat for the next 10 days that it may take to recover fully. The scientists found they were able to block replication of several strains of the virus without human cells being affected.
It's a radically different approach to targeting the virus, which comes in hundreds of different versions - and in tests on cells in the lab, can stop the virus in its tracks within minutes. Without this protein shield, a virus's genetic material is exposed and vulnerable.
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The trials found it also succeeded in killing multiple strains, including viruses related to polio and foot and mouth disease.
In fact, it was while researching ways to inhibit P. falciparum from hijacking NMT that members of the team discovered the molecular structure of the new compound, IMP-1088, which inhibits viral binding to the protein with devastating effectiveness. Other pathogens and parasites also drawn to the protein, including the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.
But the good news is the research so far suggests IMP-1088 isn't toxic to our human cells - which cell inhibitors can sometimes be - meaning we've got a very promising candidate for potential human trials, which could begin in as little as two years. But some of the side effects were toxic.