Scientists Develop Common Cold Cure

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

Why scientists are close to finding a cure for the common cold

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.

Instead of attacking the virus, researchers at Imperial College London designed a drug that blocks a protein in the body's cells that cold viruses usually commandeer to self-replicate and spread.

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.

"The common cold is an inconvenience for most of us, but can cause serious complications in people with conditions like asthma and COPD", Professor Ed Tate said.

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.

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